ASTEC DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The ASTEC Department of Public Safety (ASTEC DPS) welcomes you to ASTEC Charter Schools. Each scholar, faculty member, and staff member helps this community in many ways, including the way we each help keep everyone at ASTEC safe. ASTEC DPS hopes you will become part of a network of responsibility for everyone’s well-being by following its safety guidelines outlined on this webpage.
Looking out for each other involves a careful balance between safety and privacy. In setting departmental policies, ASTEC DPS respects the rights of all individuals. The more comfortable a person feels about coming forward with information, the safer the whole community will be.
It may seem like a paradox, but the public safety department believes that building a healthy avoidance of risk into your daily routine can preserve your freedom to come and go as you please. First, habitual adherence to safety guidelines frees you from constantly being on guard. We would like you to be alert, but not overly vigilant. Second, if you routinely avoid the risk of injury to yourself, damage to your belongings, and harm to others, you are free to live life to its fullest.
The ASTEC Department of Public Safety consists of professionally trained peace officers and community service officers who keep current in the field through continuing education. All members of the department are trained in de-escalation, conflict resolution, problem solving, and restorative justice. ASTEC DPS listens to feedback from and collaborates with individuals and organizations to create lattice of support that protects the ASTEC community.
The following information serves several purposes. It provides ideas for developing safe habits that reduce the risk of crimes against you and your property; describes how to handle emergencies and offers ways members of ASTEC can help keep each other safe. You will find safety tips, emergency procedures for various incidents, and online forms to report safety hazards, complaints, concerns, or feedback about the department and its employees. This information also explains the authority, mission, and policies of ASTEC DPS. We hope you will not only read this information carefully, but also bookmark it for future reference.
Thank all of you in advance for your help in making our ASTEC community safer.
Director of Public Safety
Location: Central Administration
Office Hours: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday (Officers are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.)
We may be reached for assistance by calling ext. 102 (school phones) or (405) 947-6272 (off-campus).
Introduction to the Department of Public Safety
ASTEC Charter Schools Department of Public Safety employs one state-certified peace officer and is available 24 hours a day / 365 days a year, which provides the ASTEC Community with around-the-clock service and protection. ASTEC DPS patrols both campuses on a regular basis. ASTEC scholars, faculty, staff, and visitors should report any suspicious activity to ASTEC DPS.
The department performs annual evaluations on policy and procedures, as well as emergency management plans. A threat assessment is performed annually to ensure the campuses are prepared for any critical incident, natural or man-made. Incident reports are kept in the ASTEC DPS office and are available for review Monday-Friday 8am – 4pm.
Director of Public Safety
Joe Koerner started his career in law enforcement in 2001. He has worked for municipal, state, tribal, and campus criminal justice agencies. He has served in multiple capacities; patrolman, K-9 officer, captain, administrator of special operations, emergency manager, and director of public safety. He has earned an associate's degree in Police Science, a bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership, a master's in Criminal Justice, and a master's in Leadership. Mr. Koerner is currently working on his dissertation to complete his PhD.
Mission of ASTEC Charter Schools Department of Public Safety
The mission of the ASTEC Charter Schools Public Safety Department is to work in partnership with administration, faculty, staff and students to affirmatively promote, preserve and provide a secure environment with a commitment to integrity, respect, fairness and service.
ASTEC’s Public Safety Director is a duly commissioned State of Oklahoma Police Officers. Their Authority comes from Oklahoma State Statute (74 O.S. 360). The Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training certifies each officer via attendance at the state-sponsored police academy or collegiate officer program. The ASTEC Public Safety Director has full peace officer powers on property owned by ASTEC Charter Schools and any other contiguous property to ASTEC campuses. In addition to enforcing local, state and federal laws and regulations, police officers are also authorized to enforce rules of conduct articulated in the code of student conduct document prepared by ASTEC Charter Schools. Non-commissioned personnel working for public safety and all other school authorities are empowered to enforce school regulations and may, as United States citizens, enforce local, state, and federal laws where applicable.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
ASTEC Charter Schools is committed to diversity among its scholars, faculty, and staff. The school admits qualified students with any disability and of any age, religion, race, color, or national origin to all the programs and activities generally available to students. It does not discriminate based on these factors in the administration of its educational policies and programs.
Bias-Based Profiling Policy
It is the policy of this department that, except in "suspect specific incidents," ASETC Public Safety officers are prohibited from considering the race, gender, national or ethnic origin, or disability of members of the public in deciding to detain a person or stop a motor vehicle and in deciding upon the scope or substance of any law enforcement action.
Attention users of cellular phones in order to report an emergency promptly from your cellular phone, program the ASTEC Department of Public Safety phone number into your phone: (405) 494-8507. Note that many providers require you to dial the area code even if your phone number is within the same area code.
In the Event of an Accident
Steps of Action:
Contact the ASTEC Public Safety Department at Ext. #102, (405) 947-6272, or (405) 494-8507.
Stay with injured/sick person. The ASTEC Public Safety Department representative will contact emergency services if necessary.
If a person trained in first aid is available, use as appropriate.
Visitors: If a visitor is injured, contact the ASTEC Public Safety Department at Ext. #102, (405) 947-6272, or (405) 494-8507. They will notify the ASTEC Human Resource office after medical attention has been sought for the injury.
Employees: If any injury occurs to ASTEC faculty/staff, notify the ASTEC Public Safety Department at Ext. #102, (405) 947-6272, or (405) 494-8507. They will initiate the worker's compensation packet.
What Should You Do If a Public Safety Officer Stops You?
Recently, across the country, there have been several tragic incidents resulting from contact between citizens and peace officers. The ASTEC DPS Director is concerned and would like to avoid having these types of situations occur on our campus. For this reason, we have developed this information to help citizens and scholars better understand what to expect from public safety officers if they are stopped and/or questioned. A familiarity with law enforcement concerns and practices will help avert needless confrontation or misunderstandings.
While there are no specific guidelines for citizens in handling contacts with police, the following suggestions are beneficial. ASTEC DPS places a great deal of value on maintaining positive community relations and to have contacts and interviews resolved without unnecessary conflict or injury to either the officer or the citizen. This information will help to minimize your stress and anxiety during your contact with the police and at the same time give you some insight into the concerns and procedures of the officers.
If You Are Stopped While In Your Car...
As soon as you notice the emergency lights pull your vehicle over to the right and stop immediately.
Although you might not know the reason, you should pull over right away.
You may have committed some minor traffic violation without realizing it.
There may be some problem with your vehicle of which you are unaware.
Remain in your vehicle while the officer approaches.
Do not attempt to get out of your vehicle or approach the officer.
Exiting your vehicle does not assist the officer and may be perceived as a threat.
For the officer's safety and yours, remain in your vehicle.
Turn on your interior light if stopped at night.
A lit vehicle cabin will reduce the officer's concern regarding weapons or other possible threats within your reach.
Keep your hands easily observable, preferably on the steering wheel where the approaching officer can easily see them.
Reaching under your seat or into your glove box are actions that will cause the officer concern that you may be reaching for a weapon.
Give your license and proof of insurance to the officer if asked to do so.
Oklahoma law requires a driver to turn over this information upon request by a uniformed officer or an officer in plain clothes who displays proper identification.
Most officers will not provide a specific reason for the stop until they have received your license and proof of insurance. This is to avoid debating the reason for the stop prior to acquiring this necessary information.
If you wish to inquire as to why you were stopped or offer an explanation, do so before the officer returns to his or her vehicle.
Answer all questions honestly. Information pertaining to prior arrests or traffic violations is easily verified via the police dispatcher.
Touching or threatening a police officer or acting in a disorderly manner could result in the filing of additional charges against you and you may be arrested.
If the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, do so without any sudden or threatening movements.
Give the officer approximately 3 - 5 feet of "personal" space as a safety zone to do his or her job. Remain in your vehicle at all times unless told to do otherwise.
Do not become argumentative, disorderly, or abusive.
If an officer has already written a ticket, it cannot be voided at that time.
If you believe that you have been unfairly treated, DO NOT make that argument on the side of the road. Your best alternative is to carry your protest to the Appeals Process.
Whether or not an officer issues you a ticket or gives you a warning is entirely up to their individual discretion. Your conduct during the stop may influence the officer's decision.
Don't Be Offended
Most citizens already realize that public safety is a difficult and dangerous profession. Scores of peace officers are killed each year, and hundreds more are injured and assaulted. For these reasons, peace officers tend to be extremely cautious. They place a great deal of emphasis on officer safety and survival. Certain safety practices are instilled in our officers from the first day of their careers. Although the procedures maximize safety for the officer, they may seem standoffish, impolite, or offensive to citizens who may not consider such precautions necessary with "them." Even though you have no intention of doing the officer harm, he or she will probably maintain a defensive posture until the officer feels that there is no risk of confrontation or injury. As far as peace officers are concerned, there is no such thing as a "routine" traffic stop. Every stop has the potential for danger.
If the Police Approach You On the Street...
Innocent individuals are often offended or angered, or both, because an officer has detained them for questioning. Although the delay might be inconvenient for you, the officer believes there is a reason (reasonable suspicion) to stop you and ask questions. Most of these stops are not officer-initiated. The most common reasons that cause an officer to stop someone are as follows:
You might be one of only a few people walking around near a crime that has recently occurred.
Your clothing might be similar or identical to that worn by the perpetrator of a crime.
Someone may have called complaining about your presence or that you looked "suspicious."
Someone may have pointed you out to the officer.
You might be acting in a manner that the officer considers "suspicious" and you may act even more "suspicious" after realizing that the officer is observing you.
The public safety officer does not wish to detain you any longer than necessary. Once the officer is able to determine that you are not the individual that he or she is looking for, the officer will often apologize for the inconvenience and then quickly leave to resume the search.
In All Public Safety Encounters...
Avoid making sudden movements (for your wallet, into your coat, toward your waistband, etc.) until you have informed the officer of your intention to do so and the officer has said it is okay.
Do not carry weapons (real or otherwise) or even joke about having a weapon on your person.
Persons authorized to carry concealed weapons legally (law enforcement and licensed by the state) must inform the officer when stopped.
Do not touch the officer or violate his or her "personal" safety zone (3 - 5 feet). Remain calm and avoid being argumentative. (If you are uncooperative and refuse to answer reasonable questions, the officer is likely to become more suspicious and the encounter will probably last much longer than necessary.)
Comply first, and then you may seek an explanation from the officer or the officer's supervisor later.
There are times when citizens who have contact with the officers come away with feelings of frustration or dissatisfaction. The ASTEC Director of Public Safety does not condone officer misconduct of any type. In our experience, we have learned that those negative feelings are often a result of not knowing the reason(s) an officer has made certain requests or acted in a certain manner. I hope that the information presented here will give you an understanding of ASTEC DPS procedures and let you know what to expect from an officer if you are stopped.
ASTEC Charter Schools is committed to the safety of its scholars, faculty, staff, visitors, and community. As a partner with the City of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County, ASTEC Charter Schools will use its technical expertise and resources to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from natural, technological and terrorism events that may affect the campus and community. ASTEC Charter Schools Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), is intended to provide a common framework to coordinate actions of disparate groups and provide a seamless, rapid response and recovery to a potential or actual emergency affecting the campus or community.
Authority for this plan is contained in the Oklahoma Code 63 O.S. § 683.1-683.24, Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1910.38) relating to emergency preparedness.
This Plan is compatible with both National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS).
Threat Assessment and Situational Awareness
Comprehensive and timely assessment of threats is critical to mitigating or responding to potential or actual emergencies. Based on the Campus Threat Assessment, several types of threat assessments are necessary to mitigate and respond to potential emergencies.
The Oklahoma Fusion Center provides continual, all-hazard threat assessment and situational awareness for many disciplines including educational institutions and the community. Coordination with Oklahoma Fusion Center is through ASTEC Charter Schools Department of Public Safety. Scholars, faculty, staff, visitors, and members of the general public are encouraged to report suspicious activities by calling 405-947-6272, ext. 102 during business hours or (405) 947-6272 after hours and on weekends.