Public Safety makes the most of trimmed budget

Photo credit Erin Gaddi

Photo credit Erin Gaddi

By Aidan Ryan
Editor-in-Chief

Students pulling in to the parking ramp after a late night of bowling or collecting returnable bottles might have noticed that the booth formerly occupied by a private security agent now sits empty between the hours of 3 pm and 7 am.  This guard, along with a part-time shuttle driver, another part-time guard, a Public Safety Lieutenant, and an Assistant Director have all left the college after budget cuts hit the department earlier this year.

Junior senator and Chairman of the Undergraduate Student Association’s Committee on Public Safety Andrew Plewinski said that the department opted to trim middle management, rather than patrolling officers.  Some of these cuts will go unnoticed, but the absence of a parking ramp guard has already worried some students.

Sophomores Elizabeth Sawka and Kate Light expressed concern, particularly for their commuter friends.  “We should be as safe as possible,” said Sawka; “I think the college should fund Public Safety more.”

Photo credit Erin Gaddi

Photo credit Erin Gaddi

Others have noticed the disappearance of the guard formerly stationed on the first floor of the Health Science Center.

“He was always sitting at his desk outside the ROTC room,” said junior Shannon Tierney.  “By the end of last semester he was gone – Dr. Putnam told me he’d lost his job – and now his desk is gone too.”

“He was a really nice guy,” she added.

Public Safety Directory Gary Everett has already made moves to cover the parking ramp absence.  The department will continue to station an officer at the ramp during daytime hours, and from 3 pm to 7 am the ramp will be periodically patrolled by mobile officers.

“We can cover both floors and provide a police car presence,” said Everett. He also requested that students call CCPS at 888-2330 for any escort from the ramp at night.

There has not been a safety- or crime-related incident in the ramp at least for the past 12 years, since Everett was appointed director. However, as former Griffin editors Nick Veronica and Jon Beck reported, these officers have helped the school in the recent past.

In 2012 the ramp officer assisted by calling Buffalo Police after the Thanksgiving shooting on East Delavan and Jefferson Avenues last year – proof that the area surrounding the college parking ramp is often dangerous.

And in 2011, officers in three positions cut identified, tracked, and caught the Wehle computer thief.  Assistant Director of Public Safety Dominic Barone dusted for finger prints in Wehle, which led CCPS to identify then 54 year-old Jacob Bell as a suspect in technology thefts at Wehle, Old Main, and UB’s South Campus.  Later, the Health Science guard Anthony Andrew noticed a man matching Bell’s description.  Finally, according to a Public Safety incident report, “lot attendant Phillips” spotted the suspect on Jefferson.  Public Safety officers then accosted and arrested Bell, who had in his backpack a DVD player stolen from the undercroft of Christ the King Chapel.

Barone and Andrew, at least, no longer work for the college; although Everett declined to release the names of the officers cut.

Despite the smaller force, the department does have an improvement in the pipes.  CCPS is currently developing an app for smartphones that will allow students to track the location of all campus shuttles.

Everett promised that the app will “let students know where the vehicles are at all times making the wait shorter and the system more user friendly and efficient.”

According to Plewinski, the app is expected to go online by the end of the semester at the latest, contingent on continued funding.

Photo credit Erin Gaddi

Photo credit Erin Gaddi

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Comments

  1. Why not have some members of the student body take some responsibility for the community’s well-being and safety by volunteering to be a night watchman or watch woman?

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