Griffin-Taylor brings vision to campus police

CAMMIE BAGLEY Executive Director & News Editor

“To protect and serve” is the motto that Campus Police Chief Marie Griffin-Taylor has adopted for her role in law enforcement.

Prior to becoming campus police chief, she worked in law enforcement all throughout North Georgia. She began her career in the metro-Atlanta area, and for over 23 years, has worked as a school resource officer and a deputy’s sheriff. Since her start at Piedmont in Dec. 2016, Taylor has made a smooth transition into her new position.

“I love the location and the area,” said Taylor. “The belief systems and the vision for Piedmont directly align and correlate with my personal vison and belief systems, and it just seemed the most perfect fit for me.”

Taylor said that her daily routine on campus is different, but she does have some bigger projects that she’s been focusing on, including the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the department.

“I’m working on the emergency plans school wide,” said Taylor. “One of the ways we tested ourselves on that is through the disaster drill because we changed it to focus more on the public health community as well as the nursing students.”

Over the summer, Taylor plans to host alert training on campus, which is active shooter response for law enforcement officers.

“That would involve every agency in Habersham County, and sometimes other surrounding counties will come,” said Taylor. “It’s put on by Georgia State Patrol, but it’s a national certification.” She said that if an active shooter situation occurred at Piedmont, it wouldn’t just be campus police responding. That’s why she believes it’s important to involve local police entities in the training.

According to Taylor, there were a few things that she helped improve once she began her position as chief, one of those being to give campus police a vision. “I’m a huge believer in training and education,” said Taylor.

“I’ve learned through the years that an officer who has more training and feels more confident about their job is less likely to get hurt.”

Taylor said that she believes that Piedmont’s campus is in a good place in terms of safety. But she does encourage her officers to be out and about so that they are seen by students. She wants the safe environment to be maintained, and plans to implement classes for students to take in the future.

“One thing we’re going to start doing is hosting different classes for students to be educated,” said Taylor. “Those would be about things like internet safety, fire safety and self-defense.”

One of her short-term goals is to improve parking around campus. She said that they are strongly enforcing parking violations, so if a student is parked in a red lot or in a handicap spot, they will receive a ticket. “We’ve had a lot of parking complaints recently,” said Taylor. “They’ve come from faculty, students and even visitors.”

If students need help from campus police or have something they want to report, Taylor said that she and her staff want to be there for them.

“They can call us at any time at (706)939-1349,” said Taylor. “If they’re not comfortable and want to give an anonymous tip, they can go online to the Piedmont website and go under ‘Campus Safety’ and click the tip line. They can also email us at campuspolice@piedmont.edu.”