When Colleen M. Berryessa ’11 approached the headquarters of the Harvard University Police Department, she was struck by its resemblance to the other office buildings on Mass. Ave.
Apart from the holding cell in the basement and the prevalence of security cameras, Berryessa said, “you couldn’t really tell right away that it’s a police department.”
Berryessa and six other members of the newly founded Crime Club took a two-hour tour of the HUPD headquarters on Monday, a trip designed to provide insight into the workings of Harvard’s police force.
The HUPD headquarters at 1033 Mass. Ave. also includes an in-house gym, and according to Berryessa, HUPD officers said that the facilities helped to make Harvard’s police department among the fittest of all nearby college police departments.
At the end of the tour, members of HUPD presented statistics and explanations of how their policies have changed over time in a question and answer session.
Berryessa said that she was surprised to learn that 13 officers—or roughly 10 percent of HUPD, according to Katherine M. Obst ’12, another member of the club who went on the tour—were female, since she had not seen a female HUPD officer on campus before.
The visit also made HUPD less intimidating in her mind, Berryessa said, adding that Harvard students should try to get to know their campus police force.
“It’s not like if you see a HUPD officer and you are like, ‘Oh my god, what’s wrong,’” Berryessa said, “It’s like, ‘Hey! Jim!’”
The Crime Club was founded in January but has not been granted official recognition by the College at this time. According to Berryessa, the organization aims to provide an outlet for students interested in criminal justice, law enforcement, and criminology to discuss relevant issues.
Katherine A. O’Leary ’11, a member of the Crime Club, said that she joined the group as she is interested in the application of science in law enforcement. Though she missed the visit to the HUPD headquarters, she said she viewed such events as useful opportunities to further explore her interest in law enforcement.
So far, the Crime Club has attracted 55 members on Facebook and about 40 e-mail list subscribers, Berryessa said.