Campus & Community

HUPD movin’ on up to Mass. Avenue

3 min read
Rachaael Pwell, Vanda de la Mata and Caitlin
Rachael Powell (left), manager for administrative services at the Harvard University Police Department, unpacks her new office with the help of Harvard freshmen, Vanda de la Mata and Caitlin Riley (right). (Staff photo by Rose Lincoln)

Renovations at the Harvard University Police Department’s former 29 Garden St. headquarters has forced a move to new offices at 1033 Massachusetts Ave., but police officials say their hope is that the Harvard community will barely notice the change.

Much of the move was done last weekend, with the new, sixth-floor facility opening for business on Sunday (Feb. 3). HUPD spokesman Steven Catalano said there is a bit more room in the new headquarters, partly because the layout uses space more efficiently than at 29 Garden St. Still, it was planned renovations, not additional space, that sparked the move.

“There’s a net gain of a little more square-footage, but a lot more usable space,” Catalano said.

Members of the Harvard community won’t be able to drop in at the 29 Garden St. headquarters anymore, but can still drop in at 1033 Massachusetts Ave. Other than that, they shouldn’t see much difference in the police presence on campus.

“It’s my sincere hope that our efforts to get the officers more involved in the community will mitigate [changed] access to our main headquarters [due to being on the sixth floor rather than street level]. We intend to improve our outreach programs and make more efficient use of our community substations,” HUPD Chief Francis Riley said.

Catalano said the same number of officers will be present in the Yard and at other locations across campus. With the department’s emphasis on community policing, officers spend their time on campus, not in the headquarters, interacting with students, faculty and staff. HUPD officers are organized into four teams with responsibility for different areas of campus: The Yard and Law School, the River Houses, the Longwood Medical Area, and Radcliffe, the School of Education, the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Business School and athletic areas.

Under the community policing concept, the officers spend more time on campus and less in the headquarters, allowing them to build relationships that help in controlling crime.

“Our hope is that the level of service and the amount of contact students, faculty, and staff have with our officers won’t change at all,” Catalano said.

Though not directly related to the move, HUPD also hopes to continue to develop its Web site to make it more useful to the University community. Members of the Harvard community can currently register laptop computers and bicycles online, and Catalano said they hope to soon add applications to use outdoor spaces and to reserve the BAT team, which serves alcohol at all on-campus functions.

Catalano said a decision hasn’t yet been made as to whether HUPD would return to 29 Garden St. after the renovations are complete.