UMMC Police charts new course with series of “firsts”
Published on Monday, November 29, 2021
By: Andrea Wright Dilworth, firstname.lastname@example.org
In less than five months, the UMMC Police Department has celebrated its share of firsts, starting with the installation of its first female chief in July. On Nov. 19, Chief Mary Paradis accomplished two more by appointing the department’s first deputy chief in an inaugural swearing-in ceremony.
Deputy Chief Joshua Bromen, who has been on the job since October, brings a wealth of diverse experience in law enforcement. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, he served 12 years with the Gulfport Police Department before becoming director of the Mississippi Analysis and Information Center for the state Office of Homeland Security, a role he left to join UMMC.
“I bring a strong community policing background that is not afraid of having difficult conversations with the goal of building strong relationships with all members of the community,” said Bromen, who holds a master’s degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership. “I bring a lot of experience with officer wellness and how a healthy officer is a helpful officer. Officer wellness includes mental, physical, financial, and social health.”
Yet another first announced at the ceremony was the appointment of a public safety director for support services. Julie Kelley, who most recently served as administrative services manager for the Chief Administrative Officer, said Paradis “capitalizes on my unique set of skills created over the last decade, assisting large divisions on the service side of the organization in removing operational obstacles.”
When she joined UMMC in July, Paradis said she was given the green light to realign the department’s human assets to fit the university’s plan for public safety at least through the next decade. The department has had two assistant chiefs before, but Paradis said she believes having one deputy chief allows for a cleaner command staff organization. Among a pool of roughly 20, Bromen stood out as the candidate who could “bring it,” she said.
“We want to build a diverse staff that mirrors our UMMC community while becoming the best police department in the state,” she said.
Paradis wants to build the department around six pillars of the 21st Century Policing National Report - building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, officer training and education, and officer safety and wellness.
The deputy chief is the head of logistics who keeps the various divisions – patrol, investigations, administration, and public safety – running. His role is to “brief up or down” depending on the circumstances, Paradis said.
Though they have only worked together a month, it feels like years, Paradis said, because they “click” so well, with a combined 50 years of experience in police leadership. “Kind of cool if you ask me, and we have different perspectives and life experiences, which is helpful for us to think broadly and bounce ideas off each other.”
Bromen, who lives in Pearl with wife Paige and daughter Victoria, 6, said he is prepared for what he believes to be the department’s greatest challenge.
“We must cultivate trust with our internal and external partners,” he said. “As we build a department with a core of ethical, empathetic, and professional policing, that trust will come.
Campus and hospital law enforcement provide a unique environment for community relations and opportunities to build trust and cooperation with those we serve. I look forward to working on a community policing focus for our department. We will be doing community engagement activities and asking for feedback and suggestions from those we serve.”
Paradis said the department is looking toward the future to ensure it is ahead of trends by being proactive instead of reactive. That includes seeking national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcing Agencies. Her team is working on the self-assessment step, the second in a five-step process. The commission grants a department two to three years to complete a self-assessment.
“CALEA accreditation is the highest level a law enforcement agency can obtain and will place UMMC PD in elite company,” said Bromen. “This accreditation will ensure we are utilizing the best policies, procedures, training, and providing the best in law enforcement services to those we serve.”
Publicly celebrating the department’s accomplishments is one way of engaging with the community. In addition to the deputy chief appointment, Paradis promoted Sergeant Lucian Price to captain of investigations in the ceremony. She also swore in five sergeants and five patrol officers, each of whom was pinned by a family member, and read letters of commendation to two of her own for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“I am having a blast introducing my team to celebrating the good work and effort they put into their jobs to keep our UMMC community safe,” said Paradis. “Our plan is to rebrand, recalibrate, rebuild and reinvest in UMMC PD.”
Tips for staying safe on and off campus
With the recent reports of crime in the Jackson area, coupled with the holiday season, Chief of Police Mary Paradis said the department is counting on the entire UMMC community to take proactive measures to ensure everyone’s safety, on and off campus.
These are their top safety tips:
- Stay in well-lit areas. Whether you’re walking home at night or parking your vehicle, staying in well-lit areas will help you be aware of your surroundings at any time, day or night.
- Take commonly-traveled routes. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas, short cuts, and secluded areas – especially if travelling on foot.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy or nervous, avoid the person or leave the area. Do not talk to strangers, and be suspicious of loitering. If wearing headphones, do not have music on so loudly that you cannot hear noise around you.
- Get to know the UMMC neighborhood where you work. Know the areas of safety and available resources (such as Blue light emergency phones and UMMC PD security escort services).
- Be responsible with personal belongings. Do not display expensive jewelry or property in public. Do not leave valuable items visible through your window when your vehicle is parked.
- Travel responsibly. Wear clothing and footwear that allow for freedom of movement. Avoid walking alone at night; walk in groups whenever you can. If walking alone, be sure to notify someone of your destination and estimated time of arrival.
- Security Escorts are available at night and on weekends. To request the service, call UMMC PD non-emergency at 601-984-1360 or contact one of the Police or Security officers on duty.
- No amount of property is as valuable as your life.
- Program your cell phone with the UMMC Police Department Emergency Number: 601- 815-7777.
- Contact UMMC PD about suspicious individuals or activity. Please report any and all crime to police via phone at 601-984-1360 (non-emergency) or 601-815-7777 (emergency).
For additional information on UMMC Police Department Safety Tips, visit the department’s webpage. For suggestions on how the department can better assist you, please contact Julie Kelley, Director of Public Safety, Support Services at email@example.com