Campus Security: More than it appears

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Raimie Hedman

Emergency call booths can help if you need to contact Campus Security

Kirsteen Wolf
The Broadside

Four unarmed officers with one vehicle and five criminal justice cadets patrol a population that is larger than the city of Madras.

While statistics show a low violent crime rate on campus, daily logs of officer activity document security concerns not reflected in federal reports.

Public Safety Officers deal with theft, suspicious circumstances, drug and alcohol violations, threats to staff, pet and traffic violations, trespass notices and assault.

The Bend campus stretches over 200 acres including natural wooded areas, according to Robert McDilda, Campus Public Safety supervisor.

The cadets—in a new program introduced this year— will either patrol in pairs or be under the supervision of an officer according to Jim Bennett, Campus Public Safety coordinator. The partnership will provide job experience for cadets, who will earn college credit for their service in a busy security environment.

“It’s a perfect fit,” said Kathy McCabe, assistant professor for Criminal Justice.

Campus Security at COCC

More than 10,000 students took credit classes at Central Oregon Community College last year and according to the Office of Student Life, the campus community has grown by 110 percent in the last four years.

The department currently has two fulltime public safety officers and two parttime officers as well as a contract security
company on the Bend campus, according to Robert McDilda, Campus Public Safety supervisor.

Bend Patrol, a licensed contract security service, currently patrols the campus on weekends and holidays. They receive
approximately eight hours of training as opposed to the COCC Campus Public Safety officers who receive 80 hours of training, according to Bennett.

Public Safety Officers have the power to enforce college policy and parking and traffic violations. Officers can ask for
identification when someone is on college property. Public safety officers can conduct investigations and may make citizen’s arrests. The officers are authorized to issue notices of trespass and can exclude persons who are violating college policy or criminal statutes according to COCC’s website.

Campus Public Safety is a department within the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. In the past, campus security has
been housed in different departments.

Sharla Andresen of the CFO office is in charge of campus security and is pleased with the progress made under her watch.

“It was not until after I took over the department in April of 2010 that it was moved into Boyle Education Center into its
own office. In the brief time Campus Public Safety has reported to me, they have moved into a more noticeable location, the name has been changed from Safety and Security to Campus Public Safety, which more accurately reflects the departments goals, and the staff has increased,” Andresen said in an email response to questions.

Only one official vehicle

With cadets coming on, security is a priority. Cadets will only patrol on foot according to Andresen.

Campus Security has one vehicle. If the one vehicle is out on patrol, remaining officers must respond to the calls on foot or use another vehicle from campus services.

“Should there be a situation where more than one vehicle is necessary there is access to another vehicle,” said Andresen.

Using a campus services vehicle could cause some logistical problems according to McDilda. If they have two or three calls stacked or if a backup officer was needed in Redmond, they then would have to check out a car from campus services. That vehicle would not have safety and security equipment. Also, there is a charge for using the campus service vehicle that would be subtracted from the department’s budget. The Campus Public Safety office could also rent a car.

Officers not armed

COCC’s Public Safety Officers are not armed.

“All Campus Public Safety Officers are trained on how to verbally deescalate a situation and call 911 if safety becomes an
issue,” according to Andresen.

Last month’s ruling to allow concealed weapons on Oregon University System grounds does not apply to COCC’s campus.

Security Department praised

The cadets will be working within a security department that is praised by Paul Amar, who is a third-year resident director at Juniper Hall. Amar commented on the quick response o f the security department.

“At two in the morning, they (officers) are here,” said Amar.“They are super fast at giving us a hand.”

Police have responded to gun threats at the college. In 2008, 1.5 pounds of marijuana was seized at Juniper Hall in an
investigation that led to the arrest of three students “on suspicion of manufacture, possession and delivery of marijuana”
reports The Bend Bulletin. Amar points to the trust and report he has with campus security.

“My preference would be to have COCC campus security seven days a week,” he said.

Law enforcement services in Bend are provided by the City of Bend Police Department according to COCC’s 2010 crime report. The two agencies have a good working relationship according to Lieutenant Paul Kansky.

“They know that campus better than any of us do,” he said.

Clery statistics and day to day operations

The Clery Act, originating in 1990, requires campuses to make crime statistics available to the public. Security departments must “collect, classify and count crime reports and crime statistics,”keep an incident log and issue safety alerts according to The Department of Higher Education.

COCC’s crime reports are available on its website.The incidents reports are also available to the public. They paint a picture of a very busy department.

Some may question whether the Clery Act crime statistics accurately reflect the day to day operations and dangers facing officers and cadets as they patrol the campus.

“The Clery numbers … accurately reflect the number of incidents that are required to be reported. The All Incident  Reports include all other activity of the department,” according to Andresen.

Campus Public Safety office can at time field 20 or more calls a day, according to Bennett.

Campus Public Safety’s database tracks all calls for service and provides case management and “detailed statistical reporting of our activities and incidents we respond to,” according to Bennett. The numbers provide accurate data
of activity on campus and track the activities of officers.

The cadets will be joining a department that has handled 447 cases as of January 1,2011.

Cases do not include all calls for service but only those that generate a report. The number of calls for service in the same time period is 1,210.

“The Clery numbers are very limited,” said McDilda, “They are not holistic.”

You can contact Kirsteen Wolf at kwolf@cocc.edu

Jeanne Clery

Photo Courtesy of State Center Community College District Police Department

The Origin of the Clery Act

“One tragic case that focused national attention on campus crime involved the torture, rape, and murder of 19-yearold
Jeanne Ann Clery in her dormitory room at Lehigh University on April 5, 1986. Following the conviction and sentencing of the woman’s murderer, also a university student, Howard and Connie Clery filed suit against the university for negligence in failing to take reasonable action to protect their daughter from foreseeable harm. The amount of the settlement was not made public, but the university agreed to improve security throughout the campus, particularly in dormitories. Following the settlement, the Clerys formed Security on Campus, Inc., an organization dedicated to bringing the problem of violent crime on college campuses to the attention of those who most need to know: applicants, students,
faculty, and staff. Their crusade has had widespread results, including the passage of legislation in Pennsylvania in 1988 to address campus crime, followed by similar legislation in other states and at the federal level”

https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/directions/pdftxt/chap10.txt

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