Easton’s City Council, Police Department, Fire Department, and Emergency Squad honored Hugh Harris, the College’s retiring director of public safety, for service to the city and the College.
At its meeting May 8, members of City Council praised Harris’ professionalism, collegiality, and effectiveness, as did Mayor Sal Panto, City Administrator Glenn Steckman, and Police Chief Carl Scalzo. They cited the strong and productive partnerships he forged with the city’s police and fire departments, emergency squad, and other law enforcement and public safety agencies during his 31 years as Lafayette’s public safety director. Council adopted a resolution recognizing Harris’ contributions “to the greater good of the City of Easton.” (The full resolution is at the bottom of this article.)
At the annual Easton Police Awards Ceremony on May 15, where Harris gave a keynote talk, officials of the Police Department, Fire Department, and Emergency Squad presented him with plaque featuring the insignia of the three agencies and the inscription “In grateful appreciation for your 31 years of outstanding service and devotion.”
Harris formed the Office of Public Safety when he came to Lafayette in 1982 by bringing functions related to the safety of the campus community and functions related to the security of campus facilities together in one operation. He oversaw the expansion of the department’s services to include police and law-enforcement services, with greater capability to conduct investigations, and services related to environmental health and safety.
Harris introduced many enhancements to the department’s systems, services, and effectiveness. Among these were the installation of a centralized fire-detection system across campus, sprinkler systems in all residence halls, and a closed-circuit TV system to aid visual monitoring of the campus. They also include the establishment of an emergency communications system that uses text messages, email, public-address announcements, and siren to alert the campus of emergency situations.
Harris also established the College’s comprehensive incident response plan that is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis and includes protocols for ensuring the safety of the campus community in the event of emergencies of all kinds.
Harris will retire effective June 30. Here is the text of the City Council resolution.
May 8, 2013
City of Easton
Office of City Council
Introduced by Jeffrey Warren
WHEREAS, Mr. Hugh Harris began his law enforcement career in the early 1970s as a Police Officer for Weatherly Borough, Carbon County, then as the Public Safety Director for Elizabethtown College and as a Part-Time Officer for Elizabethtown, then as Public Safety Director for Muhlenberg College and then as Public Safety Director for Lafayette College; and
WHEREAS, upon coming to Lafayette College, Mr. Harris took a small team of Night Watchmen and Security Officers and formed the Lafayette College Office of Public Safety and has expanded the scope of the Department to include Police/Law Enforcement services with greater capacity to conduct investigations, and environmental health and safety services; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Harris currently oversees a Department with a compliment of 9 full-time officers, 17 part-time officers and various supervisors, specialists, and dispatchers; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Harris has fostered partnerships with the City of Easton, the Easton Police and Fire Departments, the Easton Emergency Squad, and other law enforcement agencies;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Easton recognizes Mr. Hugh Harris for his 31 years of dedicated service as the Director of Public Safety for Lafayette College. The City of Easton also recognizes, with great honor, respect, and praise, the accomplishments of Mr. Harris for not only his dedication and leadership to the Lafayette College community, but also his contributions to the greater good of the City of Easton, and wishes him well in his retirement and in any future endeavors.