Emergency plan needs updated, official says

Elise Franco

Committee also discusses Judicial Affairs policy extension, cameras around campus

The main concern at yesterday’s Public Safety Advisory Committee meeting was Kent State’s Emergency Management Plan.

John Peach, director of public safety, said the management plan, which was modeled after Ohio’s safety plan, needs updated to focus on the campus right now.

Peach talked about the Critical Incident Management System, which allows the Kent State Police Department to alert the campus if an emergency situation arises.

The system consists of radio alert monitors that are placed in buildings around campus. If an emergency is called in, the dispatcher composes a script of instructions to be read over the monitors.

“CIMS is a state of protocol for the whole country,” he said. “These monitors are placed in about 100 buildings on campus.”

The committee also discussed parking concerns on campus. Larry Emling, manager of parking services, said the department has changed the policy for how part-time staff can renew current parking passes.

“There’s a short window of about three to five weeks to do it, but we want to incorporate part-time staff so that they can renew their passes online instead of having to walk in to parking services,” he said.

Emling said permits for students for summer intersession are available online now until June, and permits for Fall ’07 and Spring ’08 will be on sale in early June.

In addition, Dean Tondiglia, associate director for public safety, said some expansions will be implemented dealing with students’ off-campus misconduct.

Serious felony violations, previously dealt with solely in the City of Kent, will be brought back to the university and taken to Judicial Affairs.

“The policy hasn’t changed,” he said. “We’re just extending it to include all violations of state law that occur off campus.”

Tim Smith, professor of journalism and mass communication who specializes in law, said he is hesitant to agree with the change because standards are different in conduct court, which may create an unfair situation for the student if the case goes through Judicial Affairs before it goes through the city court system.

Police Lt. Carl Sweigert of the Kent State Police Department said previously, both offices have worked independently when charging students with crimes. The policy extension will make it easier to find patterns.

“The hope is to channel these students through the two offices to find repeat offenders,” he said. “We want to capture problems before they become bigger issues, and we know this will take time to get used to.”

The last thing the committee discussed was the use of cameras on campus.

Emling said cameras are already placed around campus, but the department is thinking about adding more.

“Our criteria would include places where past crimes have occurred (and) locations that may be vulnerable to attack,” he said.

Emling said the new cameras would be general cameras, such as the ones in the Dix Stadium parking lot.

“The lot in front of the Student Center is one location we are looking at, because of the cash operation,” he said.

Contact minority affairs reporter Elise Franco at [email protected].