Officer explains use of race safety alerts

Regina Garcia Cano

BUS says identification irrelevant


Credit: DKS Editors

Black United Students’ constituency expressed their concerns about the racial tensions a safety alert released by the Kent State Police Department may have raised on campus.

At the organization’s meeting last night, some of its members said the race of the suspects involved in the Sept. 13 robbery behind the University Library should not have been disclosed in the alert posted on FlashLine.

Lt. Thomas Etcher said the alert stated 12 black males jumped two students outside the Eastway area, robbed them and then left in different vehicles.

Etcher said, according to the Jeanne Clery Act, it is a requirement to disclose the race of the suspects in safety alerts.

“For us (police) this is not a race issue, it is a crime issue,” Etcher said, adding it is their goal to make people safe.

However, some members of BUS’ constituency consider the mention of the suspects’ race irrelevant.

“Instead, they should have mentioned the cars they were driving or what they were wearing that night, some more characteristics,” said Samuel Orr, sophomore flight technology major.

Orr said because the safety alert mentioned the race of the suspects but not the victims’ races, some people may assume the victims were Caucasians.

“That race card is going to hurt the whole community,” Orr said. “People are going to start profiling.”

Etcher said it was irrelevant to mention the race of the people who were robbed because they were victims.

BUS historian Dylan Sellers said after the alert was released Sept. 13, members of the organization expressed their concern about the wording of the alert to the BUS officers. As a result, the executive board of BUS met with John Peach, director of public safety and Kent State police chief.

Sellers said Peach agreed to disclose a second statement before the end of this week to release the latest information about the investigation.

Sellers said the focus of the organization’s meeting was to increase the importance of voting among their constituency. But he said the audience’s conversation with the police lasted longer than expected.

Contact minority affairs reporter Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].