The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Multi-level public safety facility opens

The new public safety building officially opened its doors to the public Tuesday in an open house and dedication ceremony which featured a posting of colors, speeches by top university figures, and tours of the facilities.

Previously, the public safety department was headquartered in CSUN’s residential housing. The multi-level, 26,500 square-foot building on Darby Street is the first on-campus to specifically house the department .The space includes a California Department of Corrections approved detention facility and a forensic laboratory for intermediate testing and analysis of evidence.

“I remember being led through a dark and gloomy hallway to a conference room for my first interview in the old offices,” police chief Anne P. Glavin said. “The faces on the staff were the brightest lights in the room.”

Glavin said the new facility symbolizes the best a public safety program can be, and the CSUN public safety program is the flagship of the CSU system.

All areas of the new facility, except the up and downstairs lobbies, are limited to public safety personal.

“Every thing else is carded,” Kit Espinosa, emergency management and preparedness coordinator, said during the first tour of the facilities.

According to campus public safety officials, the building is specifically built for projected staff growth with over 2500 square feet of storage and expansion capabilities. It is also designed to withstand both man-made and natural threats and can quickly be converted for emergency operations use.

Upstairs features administrative offices, conference areas, interview rooms and records storage.

The first interview room is called a “soft interview room,” mainly for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. However, the second room has all the trappings of an interrogation room familiar to viewers of TV police dramas, where suspects get “grilled” by detectives. Including cold, sterile brick walls and the obligatory two-way mirror. “We don’t want to make the bad guys feel nice and comfy,” Espinosa said.

As the tour continued downstairs, onlookers were treated to explore the detention facility, which can hold detainees for up to eight hours. There is a male and a female holding cell, each can hold four. In addition, there is a bench that seats six. The facility is fully wheel chair accessible.

Altogether, the facility can hold as many as 16 people for up to eight hours in case of any civil disorder situation. There are panic buttons outside of the cells, so officers can activate cameras and alert dispatch.

Also downstairs are the briefing room, fitness center and fully functional kitchen. However, the CSUN forensic laboratory seemed to garner the most interest from those on tour.

The laboratory is located opposite the evidence depository. When officers deposit evidence in lockers, the lockers automatically lock and can only be accessed on the other side of the wall in the crime lab. The high-tech lab is equipped with everything from a suspicious package scanner to an electrostatic dust print lifter.

“Whenever you go somewhere you leave something behind or bring something with you,” Sgt. Dana Archer said.

Archer demonstrated how officers dust for prints and collect DNA. The departments electrostatic dust print lifter exerts a static charge which will lift up dust to expose imprints like shoes or hand marks.

The final area is the most guarded, not even the chief has a key to enter the evidence storage area. The storage area is designated to store confiscated guns and narcotics. There is also a drying locker for damp or bloody clothing.

“The last thing you want to do is lose a case over tampering or loss of evidence,” Sgt. Archer said. “Everything here is brand new, in our previous headquarters we had to use basic athletic lockers to store evidence.”

The construction of the new public safety facility was part of the CSUN master plan updated after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, campus architect Nat Wilson said in a recent interview with the Daily Sundial.

Wilson said the original budget was $6.4 million – funds that originated from student parking fees and money from the University Corporation.

The facility also houses the parking enforcement office, which last year issued over 20,000 tickets and sold over 34,000 permits for 1,200 spaces.

“The men and women of this department deserve a secure, attractive and efficient work environment for the jobs they do in keeping students and faculty safe,” Glavin said.

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