Stephanie Wickett – Staff Writer
The office of Campus Safety employs the campus officers who walk through campus on Friday or Saturday nights, patrolling on their bicycles, and driving up and down nearby streets and alleys keeping the peace. What seems to be the case is that not everyone knows what Campus Safety really does for the campus to keep the entire campus safe.
When asked about their technology, what kind of crime does Roanoke College typically have, and how they deal with all of it, Tom Turner, the Director of Campus Safety and Jon Grisseti, Assistant Director of Campus Safety said it turns out there is a lot more than what meets the eye of the purpose of what Campus Safety does.
With new technological advances, Campus Safety has taken advantage of this to secure the RC campus. For instance, Lucas Hall, the newer dorms and the Library’s 24 hour study require students to swipe their Maroon Card in order to enter. This requirement is so that Campus Safety can keep records of which students entered the buildings and what time they entered. This system allows an easier method for Campus Safety track individuals or the traffic flow in and out of a building.
Â Most students also do not know that there are security cameras located around campus as well. They are in key places such as the 24-hour study lounge in Fintel Library, Lucas Hall and the Bank Building. There is also a camera located behind the commons directed toward Kerr Stadium and the Caldwell, Allegheny, Ritter Complex; this camera can move from side to side and zoom in on a selected section. These cameras allow Campus Safety to see what is going on around campus without having to be there and these cameras are recording 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which allows back tracking to look at things that could have been missed.
Â Recently, Campus Safety received a call from the library about a suspicious person roaming around. When the officers arrived, the suspect was already gone but due to the camera that was installed, they were able to see who this man was, take a snap shot of him, and send it in to Salem Police Department. It turns out that Salem P.D. was looking for the man for robbery and he had trespassed on RC three years ago. Â
Â Another addition that is going to be put up in the near future are the Blue Light Phones that have bright, blue lights that when activated, blink to attract attention and can be used to call for help. These are going to be placed on the Elizabeth Campus on the new tennis courts and the parking lot next to Alumni Field. Along with these things there are the Maroon Alert text messages and calls to all classroom phones.
Â All of the new technology that has been implemented does more than we realize to protect us.
Â Â “If you would have told me 27 years ago when I first came to Roanoke College that we were going to have this kind of technology I wouldn’t have believed you,” Tom Turner said.
Being on a college campus, the inevitable fact is that students are going to drink and party too much and do things that they would be better off not doing. When asked about the typical incidents here at RC, Turner and Grisseti said there has been a growing problem in the past two or three years with the number of threats and harassment issues that have come about on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Â “People are not face-to-face dealing with each other. They’re doing it through Twitter and Facebook and putting things out there not realizing that that could be against the law,” Grisseti said. “Once you start putting things out in the media you can’t retract it. If you say that you’re going to kill somebody on Facebook and somebody prints the screen it’s recorded forever and that’s evidence in a court.”
Â The issue that seems to be the cause of all of this is that students don’t know how to confront someone and deal with something in person. Another major problem that has started getting worse in the past three or so years is the use of marijuana on campus. Students bring it because they seem to think they can get away with it here. Along with this, prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are becoming more popular for students who take them to focus and stay awake to pull all nighters. Campus Safety comes across these issues and deals with them according to the rules of the school and state or federal laws.
Faced with multiple obstacles, Campus Safety has a full staff this year which works with Salem P.D. to keep the campus safe. When they know a big party weekend is coming up they are fully staffed and alert Salem P.D. to know what is going that weekend. As some may know Salem Police and RC Campus Safety are on the same radio station to keep both sides informed on incidents and if assistance is needed. Campus Safety also relies on Residence Life and Resident Advisors to educate students and maintain safety in the resident halls. They even rely and appreciate when the upperclassmen in mixed halls provide freshman with information to prevent them from getting into trouble or Campus Safety having problems with new students.
Â Because of the Clery Act, Campus Safety has to record all the crime that happens on campus and have it be accessible to anyone. So, if you ever want to know what kind of things are going on around campus you can look yourself. Instead of going by hearsay, go to the RC website, click on the Current Student tab, click Reports, then choose Crime Log. There you can read what really happened last night in the room down the hall instead of going by rumors.
Campus Safety is more than merely writing people up and busting parties. They keep the campus and students as individuals safe from harm and are always willing to help. If you ever have a problematic situation on your hands, whether it is a very intoxicated roommate or you do not want to walk across campus alone at night, give Campus Safety a call. It’s what they are there for, to help and protect the RC campus.