New police captains lead charge for safety, service
The Department of Campus Safety Services’ new captains are (from left) Denise Wilhelm, Joe Garcia, Jeffrey Chapman, Eileen Bradley and Robert Lowell.
Just call them “Captain.” In a significant staff reorganization, the Department of Campus Safety Services has promoted five veteran police supervisors to the newly established rank of captain.
“With the unprecedented growth of the University, we recognized the need for a senior level of leadership within the department,” Executive Director Carl Bittenbender said. “Looking at their areas of expertise and performance, we identified five officers for promotion to the rank of captain. This restructuring, we believe, enables us to deploy our resources more efficiently and strategically to meet the needs of a growing and vibrant campus.”
The five new captains and their assignments are:
• Capt. Eileen Bradley, special events/special services. Bradley is responsible for coordinating requests for security for all special events on campus, from the annual Spring Fling to concerts and basketball games at the Liacouras Center. A 32-year veteran of the Temple police force, she works closely with the Office of Student Affairs and student organizations on campus and coordinates a variety of campuswide safety and awareness and community service programs. She also serves as liaison with block captains in the surrounding community and with Temple’s partnership schools.
“I’m most satisfied dealing with our students and helping them,” Bradley said. “The overwhelming majority is deeply interested in their studies and wants to have a good college experience.
“A typical day? A staff meeting, reviewing the special event agenda for the week, meetings with the Counseling Center to plan a SACE coffeehouse and with the housing folks about the next Listening Circle, a talk to the student General Assembly about campus safety, reviewing any complaints about the escort or shuttle service, getting together for one of two regular weekly chats with the president of Temple Student Government.”
• Capt. Joe Garcia, Health Sciences Center liaison. The liaison officer at the Health Sciences Center since 1996, he is now the commanding officer at HSC, responsible for all security and police operations there. This includes all security planning and deployment for Temple Hospital and Temple Children’s Hospital as well.
Garcia, who grew up in North Philadelphia and still lives there with his family, spent four years in the Marines before coming to Temple in 1988. His is a true Temple family: He earned his degree while working at the University; his wife, a seventh-grade teacher, earned her master’s in education at Temple; his daughter is a Temple freshman; and his son expects to transfer to Temple next year from the Community College of Philadelphia.
“I interact with many people every day, dealing with patients and their loved ones, our professional students, faculty and staff,” Garcia said. “I love the work I do, the one-on-one relationships with many, many people, and the freedom I have to get the job done, supported by my supervisors. I’m allowed to create, and it’s been successful.”
• Capt. Robert Lowell, investigations. Lowell supervises a team of eight detectives and all criminal investigations reported to the Campus Police. Additionally, Lowell, who next month will mark 23 years with Temple Police, compiles all statistics to meet state and federal requirements and generates daily, weekly and monthly incident reports, which are entered into a computerized mapping system to assess the deployment of department resources.
His responsibilities have been exponentially enhanced by technological advances: From just one computer in the department in 1982, high-tech innovations now include computer reporting systems that go into a national crime information database, a computerized facial composite system for victims of crime, and JNet, which allows instant communication with other police departments, parole and probation agencies, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and other law enforcement units.
“This campus is alive 24/7, and its perimeters keep expanding,” Lowell said. “We have a lot more responsibility, but we also have a battery of new resources to assist us — among them, 150 security cameras Universitywide sending pictures back to this office, and the blue-light emergency phone towers that not only act as a deterrent, but also give people direct access to our services. Extension of the Code of Conduct to Temple students living within our jurisdiction in the community gives us significant added leverage.”
• Capt. Denise Wilhelm, patrol operations. Wilhelm oversees the patrol aspects of the department, as well as the security in campus buildings and officers’ assignments. She also reviews incident patterns and deployment and helps develop policies and procedures. Like her colleagues, this Iowa native has risen through the ranks since joining the department in 1988 as a security officer, the same year she moved to Philadelphia to enroll as a Temple freshman. After graduating from the police academy and becoming a police officer, she joined the bike patrol team, later serving as liaison officer with the newly opened Liacouras Center and then as officer in charge of the 3–11 p.m. shift.
“I like the challenge of being here and having the responsibility for making decisions on the spot. … There were 42 in my high school graduating class in rural Iowa, and it was Temple’s diversity and the excitement of the city that motivated me to come here,” Wilhelm said. “Temple’s been good to me. Even as patrol captain, I like to get out on the street every day. And I still try to do the bike thing once or twice a week.”
• Capt. Jeffrey Chapman, night patrol operations. An 18-year Temple police veteran, Chapman is commander of the evening and overnight shifts at all four Temple campuses. Chapman also coordinates the planning and oversight for large events on campus. A former football player at Cornell, he came here after serving in the military and “fell in love with Temple.”
With a team of officers and Temple student volunteers, Chapman developed an after-school program at the nearby R.W. Brown Community Center for neighborhood children that included tutoring; intramural basketball, swimming and Ping-Pong; and life skills and “rap-around” sessions, all designed to give youngsters an alternative to being on the street and a positive rapport with police.
“We literally went door-to-door in the community to recruit kids,” Chapman said. “I’d like to think we made a difference: 50 percent of the youngsters who came through the program have at least attended college.”
For several years he served as the department’s liaison to Temple athletics, assigned to the football team with the responsibility for building good relationships with the players and curtailing negative behavior.
“It was an opportunity to represent the University to the team, and we found that the number of incidents involving student-athletes went down,” he said.
Most satisfying for Chapman is seeing Temple students grow and develop and go on to successful professional careers. “When a student says to you, ‘Because of you, I turned my life around,’ you feel like you’ve had a hand in that growth,” he said. “That’s powerful.”
Their unqualified dedication to Temple, Bittenbender said of the newly promoted captains, is reciprocated by Universitywide respect for the five veteran officers who are well-known throughout the Temple community.
“Capt. Bradley loves the University and loves helping people. … Bob Lowell, who gets in every morning at 5:30 a.m., is tireless and has an enormous wealth of knowledge of criminal law. … Joe Garcia has been doing a wonderful job at HSC since he was first assigned there. … And Capts. Chapman and Wilhelm can share their experience and expertise directly with the lieutenants reporting to them.
“Above all, this strong management team exemplifies the student-centered mission of our department,” Bittenbender said. “On move-in day, when parents say, ‘Take care of my baby,’ we let them know that our whole job is to keep our — and their — kids safe.”
- By Harriet Goodheart