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New Director of Public Safety, Jermaine Cherry, outlines plans for 2019-20 school year

Jermaine Cherry, sitting at his desk.

Johnson C. Smith University’s new Director of Public Safety, Jermaine Cherry, is wasting no time getting to work. The chief officially joined in July and is outlining his plan for the school year, before students arrive for the fall semester. With a background in campus policing, at East Carolina University and North Carolina A&T State University, Cherry is hoping to bring his expertise of partnerships, student engagement and traditional community policing to JCSU. 

 “A Chief Cherry led department will be known by the three P’s, I would like to say. Professionalism, proactive and preparedness,” he said. “We’re faced with a lot of challenges; I want us to be prepared to meet those challenges.” 

While explaining his campus policies, Cherry also touched on the fatal shooting at UNC Charlotte, which took the lives of two people, in April. The incident had a major impact on Charlotte, including students at JCSU.

“We are looking to roll out active shooter training through campus. We have to work out logistics. We have got to figure out how to flush that out, but we want to be a part of preparing the campus community and teaching them some strategy they can do if that tragedy were to visit our campus.”

The active shooter training will not only be for students, but faculty, staff and officers, who already have rapid deployment training.

In addition to preparing students for an active shooter situation, Cherry is also hoping to engage with students through social media. Campus police will soon launch their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. They will also roll out a number of crime prevention programs during the school year. Male and female students will have the opportunity to learn rape aggression defense (RAD), build relationships with officers through the safe program, and partner with campus police for events.

He added, “We’re stronger together than we are individually”, when speaking about the partnerships he hopes to form.

Cherry wholeheartedly believes in the community-policing motto, which will be visible throughout the school year. He said, “We have great working relationships with CMPD and the sheriff’s office so we look to continue those relationships.” He has also started fostering a relationship with Charlotte’s District Attorney, Spencer B. Merriweather. 

In speaking on his plan, Cherry emphasized, “I’m elated to have the opportunity to lead this great agency at this great institution. I believe we have a bright future ahead of us.” He asks that the campus be patient as he transitions into his new role and encourages faculty, staff and students to engage with him this school year.

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