Bowling with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) proves “popular” again among residents as Lt. Ray Stevenson noticed a “great turn-out” of Goshen, Tyson, Alleghany and Brandywine residents, compiling on one of the two buses taking students to Palace Bowling in Downingtown.
“I want you to know we’re real (people),” Stevenson, Assistant Director Residence Hall Security of DPS said, beginning the safety discussion prior to the bowling activity.
Kenny Bronson, a DPS security officer, accompanied Stevenson to take the students bowling.
Bronson, out of uniform, greeted students with a smile, wearing a striped polo shirt and jeans. “Community policing is a philosophy in which the police are seen as members of the community,” according to the website, www.wcupa.edu/dps.
Stevenson advocated for students attendance at Sykes After Dark on Friday nights. He also urged students to get involved with their campus. Stevenson, alumnus of West Chester University, got involved with WCU during his third year, by doing so he began to enjoy his college experience.
“I won’t tell you what not to do,” Stevenson said, his repetition effectively reinforcing his message to students to stay safe based on the choices they make.
An alternative alcohol event aims to entertain students and have an objective in “preventing anything that may be harmful to them.” DPS aims to provide their program on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, as these are the nights “people go off-campus.”
“It’s a great opportunity for residents to have fun on a Thursday night,” Chris D’Arcy, a Resident Assistant in Tyson, said.
Students going bowling with fellow residents “takes you out of your comfort level” allowing students to “meet people socially.”
The bus ride gave students the opportunity to interact with one another.
Community Policing programs “provide opportunities for students to participate in fun ‘alternative alcohol free’ events,” according to the website www.wcupa.edu/dps. The programs originated in 1991, consisting of officers speaking at floor meetings in residence halls to now doing activities off-campus. RA D’Arcy described Stevenson as “candid” with a “humorous” approach in his discussion. Stevenson said DPS developed the events for the students to do activities they wanted. It allows officers to have a safety discussion with students, giving them an “educational” talk to safe stay in West Chester, in their “homes.”
DPS provides transportation to and from all events.
Alternative alcohol free events are “mainly student driven” created by student’s feedback to RAs. Bowling has been a common activity, opted by the residents. Excited chattering filled the classroom, holding roughly 100 students attending the event, as they were informed they could bowl, play arcade games, and would be able to dance to the music playing in the bowling alley.
Informing students to make future requests, Stevenson works with Resident Directors (RDs) to establish activities for residents to partake in, at no cost to the student.
“We’ll do it if you want to do it,” Stevenson said, “That’s our philosophy.”
“I’d be in my room doing work,” Shelby Krupka said, a second-year student majoring in psychology. “There’s always time for homework, so I wanted to go bowling.”
An alternative alcohol event “gives you options” as well as it “gives people something to do on-campus.”
“Our number one goal is to keep you safe,” Stevenson said.
Walking escorts by DPS officials occur to and from on-campus locations. There are 67 emergency poles located around campus. By pressing the button, it will automatically connect to the DPS dispatcher.
Stevenson advised students, in an emergency, press the button, and when necessary, keep running while yelling out information to the dispatcher.
Stevenson informed students of security issues that they don’t realize occur.
Enlightening residents, emphasizing “it happens every weekend,” Stevenson told students of real stories. Stevenson said every weekend, a person who has noticeably been consuming alcohol will ask the person they are bringing into their, residence building at the desk of security ‘what’s your name again?’ Bronson nodded concurring with Stevenson that it happens, and that the security officers do not allow the person to be admitted into the building.
“We don’t want for people to be put in harm’s-way when (a resident is) signing in people that they don’t know,” Stevenson said.
“We have a false sense of security,” Stevenson said referring to students believing they will not become a victim on campus as a common belief, ‘it won’t happen to me.’
Stevenson said he wishes we were always safe.
Sept. 22, the same day as the bowling and safety discussion, residents of Goshen Hall received an e-mail alerting them seven thefts occurred in the residence, within two days. Stevenson tells students, theft takes only a few minutes, when unoccupied room doors left wide open.
While police officers and security guards are completing “rounds” in residence halls, they perform several tasks. One includes placing a yellow notice card in a residence room, notifying the residents they left their room unoccupied with the door open.
The door would then be locked and closed.
Take the time to lock your door, Stevenson urged, protect your valuables. He recommended this in the library as thefts have occurred when belongings were left unattended.
He left students with two suggestions, either take your belongings with you, or ask students near-by to watch them.
Stevenson told students how he had his textbook stolen from him while studying for his final exam in the FHG library.
Stolen textbooks are sold back to bookstores for cash. Various electronic devices are stolen from on-campus buildings as well.
Students can register valuables through DPS
on their website. Using the side tool bar, click on ‘crime prevention education’ and then select ‘valuable item registration.’
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a fifth-year student, majoring in English, with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.