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Campus Safety and Security
- Amherst College Police
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Amherst College Police should be notified in the event of an emergency; they can be reached at (413) 542–2111. The emergency telephone number for the Town of Amherst is 911 from all phones. It will connect the caller to the Town of Amherst Police Department and the Fire/Ambulance Department. A handy reference list of emergency numbers is printed on page 1 of the campus phone directory.
Amherst has implemented a Mass Notification system (AC Alert), a service that allows College officials to reach students and staff with time-sensitive information during unforeseen events or emergencies.
The systems uses voice, email and text messaging to broadcast pertinent information and, when appropriate, to provide directions to those in the affected area(s). The College has also installed an outdoor auditory siren system to use in conjuncture with AC Alert. Additionally, the Amherst College homepage may be used to provide emergency notification information.
Amherst College has created a policy that defines when the Mass Notification system will be used, without delay, and takes into account the safety of the community, determines the content of the notification and initiates the notification system unless such notification will, in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, investigate or otherwise mitigate an emergency.
The Amherst College Police Department (ACPD) is responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing public laws and College regulations. Although the ACPD performs many services, its main function is protecting the lives and property of members of and visitors to the College community. This is accomplished through the use of armed, radio-equipped officers who patrol the campus on foot, on bicycles and in cruisers.
The ACPD is staffed by 14 full-time officers under the direction of the Chief of Amherst College Police. All ACPD officers are sworn police officers and exercise full police powers on all properties owned and used by Amherst College.
Amherst College Police maintains offices in the Services Building, which is always open. The dispatcher can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the following numbers:
- Emergency—(413) 542–2111
- Business Line—(413) 542–2291
Although the dispatchers are not police officers, they work closely with the officers and are familiar with College policy, procedures and regulations.
In addition to patrolling buildings and grounds, the ACPD is responsible for registration of motor vehicles, traffic control and enforcement of parking regulations. They also investigate accidents and complaints, arrange for transportation of sick and injured persons, provide cash escort and temporary storage of funds, and provide personal safety escorts during the dusk-to-dawn hours. Such escorts shall be between College facilities.
Anyone with questions regarding police procedures and policy is urged to visit the police station. Experience has shown that students who encounter problems with the police have generally failed to familiarize themselves with College rules and regulations.
In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the College publishes an annual report, which is available to anyone at https://www.amherst.edu/offices/campus_police/general_safety.
In compliance with Massachusetts’ Open Police Log statute and the requirements of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act, there are public logs, available 24 hours a day, of all reported incidents and crimes at the Amherst College Police Station, located at 6 East Drive. On a regular basis, the Crime Log is published in the Amherst College student newspaper.
Each student living in on-campus housing at Amherst College can identify to the College, in advance, a confidential contact person that the College shall contact in the event that the student is determined to be missing by the ACPD or Amherst (town) Police Department. Each student may enter information about a confidential contact person via their ACData account.
Note that this contact information is confidential and is accessible only to authorized College administrators and law-enforcement officers, who would have responsibility for making connections with emergency contacts in the event of a determined emergency (such as Student Affairs staff, police staff, etc.) This information may not be disclosed outside of a missing-person investigation.
First-year students are not permitted to have vehicles on campus. Upperclass students may not obtain permits for first-year students. Registration with the College is mandatory for all upperclass student vehicles, whether owned by the operator or not and whether operated on College property or not. No motor scooters, mopeds or motorcycles may be stored in any College building, including any student residence. These vehicles will be removed at the owners’/operators’ expense, and owners/operators will be fined.
Student-operated vehicles, including rented or leased vehicles, which use any College parking area, including student lots, must display valid permits at all times. Any vehicle not displaying a valid permit will be towed or booted at the owner’s/operator’s expense, and the owner/operator will be fined. The permit fee for on-campus students is $60 annually.
All nonresident vehicles (those not bearing Massachusetts license plates) must be registered within 30 days of arrival in the state, in compliance with Chapter 90, Section 3 of the Massachusetts General Laws.
Registration, parking permits (including guest permits) and further information on parking regulations can be obtained at the Amherst College Police Office. General information pertaining to registration of bicycles, lost property, insurance claims and local and state laws may also be obtained from the ACPD.
The College lost-and-found is maintained by support staff in the ACPD, and all items of value are tagged and stored for approximately 90 days before disposal. Found items can be claimed at the police station after identification and completion of a Property Release Form. Lost items can be reported to the ACPD at any time.
Following the basic precautions outlined below and using good common sense can greatly increase personal safety and the safety of student possessions.
1. When leaving rooms, students should make sure:
A. All windows are locked.
B. All valuables are removed from desktops and stored out of sight.
C. All desks/files are locked, if so equipped.
D. All doors are locked, even if students will be gone for only a minute.
2. Students should not sleep with their doors unlocked.
3. Students should never prop open exterior doors to their dormitories. A propped door destroys the best security plan and is an open invitation to undesirables.
4. Students should report all strangers loitering in their dormitories to the ACPD at (413) 542–2111.
5. Students should never lend their keys or hide them outside their rooms. Thieves know all the hiding places. Students should carry their keys every time they leave their rooms or buildings. It is the students’ responsibility to guard against use of their keys by unauthorized persons.
6. When walking at night:
A. Students should avoid shortcuts and should walk where there is plenty of light and traffic.
B. Students should avoid walking alone. If no friends are available, students should call for a police escort at (413) 542-RIDE / (413) 542-7433.
C. Students should not hitchhike—it's very dangerous.
D. Students should jog with friends, leaving their route and estimated return time with other roommates or friends.
E. Students should not carry shoulder bags casually; rather, they should be locked under their arms.
7. Students should keep cars locked at all times, placing valuables and personal items out of sight.
8. Students should never leave wallets or purses lying on top of desks or dressers. Students are urged not to keep large amounts of cash in their rooms.
10. Students should check identification and authorization of any person claiming to be maintenance staff if they do not recognize the person as a College employee.
11. Students should not leave their wallets, purses, watches or backpacks unattended while studying in Frost Library. Students should not leave backpacks in the hallways of Valentine Dining Hall.
12. Students should not bring wallets, purses, watches or valuables to the athletic facilities. Students should keep lockers locked when unattended, even if away for just a minute.
Students who believe they have problems that might require legal advice are urged to consult one of the deans of students. The College does not provide legal assistance, but can refer students to local lawyers and may provide bail in certain cases. Those needing information about legal assistance, bail, etc., should contact the Office of Student Affairs or the Administrator on Call.
Any student who is arrested should call Amherst College Police at (413) 542–2291 and clearly state his or her name and location and the telephone number of the phone he or she is using and ask that the Administrator on Call call that phone.
Amherst College students are often asked to serve on various juries within Hampshire County. Although many students are not registered voters in Massachusetts, jury eligibility is determined by period of residency within Hampshire County, and all Amherst students are eligible to be called. The call to jury duty includes the opportunity for one postponement of the server’s choice. Many students elect to serve their jury duty at the beginning of a vacation or break period. A student who is called to jury duty and must miss class as a result is encouraged to notify his or her class dean, who will in turn notify the student’s instructors. Generally, if students are called to jury duty, it is not possible to be exempted. However, in Massachusetts, if a student has served jury duty in his or her home state within the last three years, whether impaneled on a jury or not, that student can be disqualified from juror service by submitting a copy of his or her service certificate. Students can mail or fax their service certificates to:
Office of Jury Commissioner
560 Harrison Avenue, Suite 600
Boston, Massachusetts, 02118