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Kate Felder named University staff Rising Star

DPS data specialist innovates crime tracking and prevention methods

Kate Felder, data specialist and assistant to the executive director at Brown University Department of Public Safety, was awarded the 2019 Rising Star Excellence Award for University staff Dec. 19.

The Excellence Awards are given annually in seven categories — Citizenship and Environmental Stewardship, Diversity and Inclusion, Efficiency, Innovation, Leadership, Rising Star and Service — and are intended to highlight exceptional employees across all of Brown’s departments.  A team of University staff members both within and outside of human resources come together to select the winners, said Darlene Williamson, talent development program manager for the Department of Human Resources. The awards aim to highlight “exceptional work, over and above the work that folks do on a day-to-day basis,” Williamson said.

Felder’s projects include creating an interactive map that catalogs and details reported crimes for civilian use. Felder first became interested in the structure of patrol routes while working for Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Public Safety, where she taught herself how to use software that would allow her to map out criminal activity on campus. “People could have these maps and it would make a lot more sense than just having a report about where crimes were happening,” Felder said. So, when Felder joined DPS at Brown and asked to make a crime map for the University, DPS was “totally on board,” she added.

Felder also partnered with the student group Bikes at Brown to create a bike theft prevention program that numbered bike racks to determine which areas of campus were being targeted the most by thieves. Felder’s data were then used to assign more officers to areas with higher crime rates, said Executive Director and Chief of Police of DPS Mark Porter.

Additionally, Felder revived the DPS newsletter in 2017, which informs the community of DPS news, events and safety tips. The newsletter now has over 3200 readers, and the DPS Facebook page has risen from 400 users to over 2300 since 2018, Felder said.

Felder is currently working with the Providence Police Department to share crime-tracking technology and compare crime data from the University campus to those of the surrounding area. Felder also attends weekly PPD meetings, during which DPS may assist with police reports on crimes that occurred near the campus.

Felder is also taking classes at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell on digital imaging through the Brown Employee Education Program, which funds staff employee education for job-related courses.

Felder is “a great employee, (and) a tremendous asset since we’ve hired her,” Porter said. “She has been unbelievable in taking on new projects … and instrumental (in) assisting me with improving our communication process throughout Providence.”

Felder has only worked for DPS for three years, but she is committed to the College Hill community in the long term.

“I plan on being a lifer at Brown,” she said. “I totally love working at Brown and, so, I’m planning on retiring here.” When Felder learned that she had won the Rising Star award, she felt validated. “I love to work hard … but it’s really nice to have other people notice my work as well,” she said. “It’s nice that people are actually looking at those maps and reading those newsletters,” she added.


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