December 2, 2021

SUNY police relocate to former residence hall

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

University Police Officer Frank Dalton looks over the many screens Friday inside Whitaker Hall, the new home of the campus police department on the SUNY Cortland campus.

After a year of planning, SUNY Cortland University Police have moved into a new space at Whitaker Hall, a more central location on campus.

Moving into the space has been on Chief Steven Dangler’s list since he took the position in 2002.

Before making the move to the former residence hall, the department was located in Van Hoesen Hall. It was cramped and stuck in an out-of-the way corner, Dangler said. “It reduced response time.”

Now with the department being centrally located, it will take an equal amount of time to respond to either side of the campus.

Dangler said Whitaker Hall, near Broadway Avenue and Pashley Drive, has been designed for the police department, providing sufficient space.

The cost of the moving project and the difference in square footage between the old and new locations were unavailable.

When first walking into the new headquarters, guests are met with a large window looking into the department’s dispatch center, which has two dispatch stations, computers and a large TV screen sporting radar feeds of weather.

To the left of the dispatch station is a large open reception center with a wall of windows that looks out to the Cortland City Waterworks. “This is phenomenal,” Dangler said while holding his arms out toward the window.

Just down the hall — offices, locker rooms and a processing and report area, equipped with a scanner to photograph and fingerprint those arrested.

On the second floor of the building is a room designed for emergencies. The Emergency Operation Center will be outfitted with electronics such as large TV screens, Dangler said. If an emergency, like an active shooter, was to occur, the room becomes a secure space to manage emergency response as things transpire.

The department began operations at the location on March 17, but was still finishing up some minor details through the week.

The department has 26 employees, 19 of which are sworn officers.

“It’s all about service and we’re here to serve the community,” Dangler said.