By: Mary-Elizabeth Pratt
On Feb. 11, Student Development and the Wittenberg Police & Security Office came together in Shouvlin Hall to hold a special safety forum aimed at listening to student’s issues and possible solutions to the wave of crime that has occurred over the last several months. Interim Chief of Police Mark Lopez, Associate Dean for Residence Life Mark DeVilbiss, and President of Student Senate were on hand to hear and respond to student questions.
The first several questions asked at the meeting involved student housing safety issues as well as car theft on campus. Lopez commented that he had never known of a car theft that turned out to be truly stolen until this year in his nine years with the department, and encouraged students with issues with doors and locks to call Physical Plant, and this was echoed by DeVilbiss.
Students came armed with solutions, as well. One student mentioned starting a service, similar to the JerkLine at Paul Brown Stadium, where students could send a text message with an issue and the location. Lopez and DeVilbiss agreed, stating that students may feel more likely to send a text message over an issue that they feel may not warrant a call.
Lopez did underline several statements about the department. Every call that is taken by university dispatch has an officer sent to investigate it, no matter how big or small. He also stated that Wittenberg’s campus is roughly the size of one of Springfield Police Department’s districts, and while only two SPD officers will patrol any given district, seven Wittenberg police will be on duty on any given weekend evening. He also mentioned that if there are any issues, such as unwanted guests, at an on or off campus house while students are drinking, that the students will not have their drivers licenses checked if all students are compliant and do not cause any issues when the police officers arrive.
Several things were agreed upon by all of the students in attendance. Walking on campus in pairs or groups at night was highly encouraged, and staying alert of the surrounding area is imperative. Lopez welcomed any issues be sent via the anonymous reporting website, or the Wittenberg Police at 937-327-6231.