By Mehmet Barvez
The aftermath of several violent incidents on and around the campus of East Stroudsburg University have become the precursor to many changes across campus, including to the ESU Police Department.
“We have established a better communication policy where the President of the university will send out detailed information to keep the students in the loop,” said Chief William Parrish of the ESU police.
The emails to date offer information regarding everything from new shuttle routes, basic safety tips, and information about the stabbing incident from earlier in the semester.
The ESU Police are also investigating better camera systems.
The current camera system is being evaluated for areas that can be improved, and there is a strategic plan being developed for camera coverage, and software.
“We are looking at a complete overhaul of our camera system,͟” said Parrish.
“We are looking to improve the system with longer storage time for recorded material, better analytics for reviewing tape, and overall better coverage by our camera system.”
͟Parrish also noted that the University is looking at proposals from many vendors and security companies and is organizing a proposal.
“Our vision is to have this improved system installed over the summer and completely up and running by the fall semester,” said Parrish.
The university is also in the process of hiring three new police officers. The officers will be certified police officers, and will be in addition to the current staff.
Also, the police department is looking at ways to improve the security officers, either by hiring more security officers, or by contracting with a security company.
There is currently no concrete plan, but they are exploring options.
Aside from the improvements to the security within the university, the police have some recommendations for students to increase personal safety.
“We always recommend to go out in pairs,” said Parrish.
“This is a back to basics approach, but it works. You’re safer in pairs. Also, report unusual activity. Students need to pay attention to their surroundings and report suspicious people or activities.”
After reviewing camera footage recently, Parrish said he noticed an alarming trend among students.
“It seemed like every student on the camera footage was walking with a screen in their face,” said Parrish.
“They are all starring at their cellphone or electronic device, and it’s removing their awareness of what’s going on around them. It’s quite a distraction.”
The hours of operation on a college campus are different than the surrounding community. There is often a lot of activity much later in the evening, compared to community, and it is not uncommon for large groups of college students walking around late at night.
The police aren’t able to differentiate registered students from non-registered college aged civilians, so the police rely on students to report suspicious people.
“͞The students are our eyes and ears. They are the best avenue we have to get information about suspicious people, and activity,” said Parrish.
“We need incidents reported, and need them reported in a timely fashion.”
To report a suspicious person or activity, call the ESU Police at (570) 422-3064, or dial 911.
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