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Keeping QCC’s Communities Safe and Secure

July, 2019
  • QCC's Bike Patrol Unit.
    QCC's Bike Patrol Unit.
  • Deputy Chief of Administration Reynaldo Rodriguez and Deputy Chief of Operations Stephen DiGiovanni
    Deputy Chief of Administration Reynaldo Rodriguez and Deputy Chief of Operations Stephen DiGiovanni
  • QCC Campus Police Chief Kevin Ritacco
    QCC Campus Police Chief Kevin Ritacco

In today’s tumultuous world too often you only hear about a college’s campus police department after a tragedy has occurred. The primary mission for a college’s campus police is to provide a safe and secure campus for all and QCC’s Campus Police Department is no exception. While the department works as one entity, the force is broken out into different, distinct units that have their own specialties, offering the QCC community a multitude of services that make it unique in the college policing arena.

The department is led by Police Chief Kevin Ritacco, Deputy Chief of Operations Stephen DiGiovanni and Deputy Chief of Administration Reynaldo Rodriguez. There is a fire safety unit, an internal affairs unit, training unit, a detective unit, a bike patrol unit, a Clery Unit (the Clery Act is a consumer protection law that works to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics), security unit, patrol unit, academy unit, community service unit, in addition to an accreditation unit.

The department made history in 2017 when they became the first community college police department to receive official accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC). This is the Commission’s highest award. While not mandatory to become accredited, by doing so it shows a level of complete transparency for the officers and entire QCC community, and demonstrates to the courts that each and every procedure has been followed correctly and accurately. Every three years the department must go through a reaccreditation process to show that it is maintaining the accreditation standards.

“We’re very proud of this accreditation,” said Chief Ritacco. “We have better communication, better reports, more programs and full transparency of our policies and procedures.”

Another source of great pride is the department’s Police Academy, which launched in 2018. This is an entry-level training program that is geared to those interested in becoming a part-time reserve or intermittent police officer. QCC is the only Massachusetts community college that is running its own police academy.

Another community-oriented change happened in spring 2019, when one of the more familiar faces on the force, Community Resource Police Officer Kate Dixon, moved into an office in the Administration building (Room B59A) on the college’s main campus. The move was designed to provide students and staff with easier accessibility for trainings on safety and to disperse information on personal safety and CPR. Office hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

“We are here to teach students as well,” Chief Ritacco said. “We’ve always had a good relationship with the student body. It’s why we do ‘Coffee with A Cop’ every year and other safety trainings.”

QCC Campus Police also have strong ties with the Worcester Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, Southbridge Police, Marlborough Police, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), FBI and Homeland Security.

“We have great outside relationships,” added Chief Ritacco, noting that the department is involved in monthly meetings with many of the state and Federal agencies.

What many may not know is that the Campus Police are not only responsible for the college’s West Boylston Street Worcester location, they are also responsible for the Healthcare and Workforce Development Center on Federal Street in Worcester; QCC at the Worcester Senior Center on Providence Street in Worcester; Burncoat High School in Worcester (where the Automotive Technology program is located); the Community Learning Hubs in Great Book Valley Apartments in Worcester and Catholic Charities in Worcester, as well as back up for Southbridge Police for any issues at QCC Southbridge. QCC at Assabet is monitored by Marlborough Police Department.

“Our department is here for the QCC community every step of the way,” Chief Ritacco said.

More about Campus Police.