Sniper threatens those in orange

Sean Joseph

Some Parking Services employees are looking at their jobs more seriously after minor threats of physical abuse turned into a sniper threat.

Ron Phelps, a full-time employee of Parking Services, received a call March 17 from a man who said he was a sniper, said Andrew Raulie, a student enforcement officer and junior justice studies major.

“The caller said he had a gun, and he was going to shoot someone in orange before May 15,” Raulie said, though Parking Services workers currently wear neon yellow.

The campus police do not think the threat is legitimate, said John Peach of the Kent State Police Department, and he told Parking Services there is no reason to act on this vague threat.

“There is no specific person, time of day, location or motive along with this threat,” Peach said.

The threat happened simultaneously with the increase of towed cars on campus, Peach said.

Parking Services was never able to trace the phone number of the caller but has since been taught how to do so, Peach said.

Still, some employees can’t get the threat out of their minds, Raulie said.

“It seems like the people in the office aren’t taking it as seriously as the employees out on the street,” Raulie said.

The first thing Parking Services did after receiving the threat was alert the police and the entire Parking Services staff of the situation, said Larry Emling, assistant manager of Parking Services. He also said the department allowed staff to work in pairs.

“Anytime you get a threat these days you have to exercise caution,” Emling said. “More than likely it’s a hoax.”

Emling and Peach both agreed Parking Services employees are not in any unusual danger.

Threats against Parking Services employees are common but never this serious, said Rosalba Heschelman who has worked in the department for 25 years.

“I’ve been here for a long time, and people are becoming more violent,” Heschelman said. “In the past the worst that anyone would have done is yell a bunch of names at you.”

Minor threats and disgruntled people come with the territory when the job is ticketing and towing cars, Emling said.

“Obviously there are people who don’t like what we do,” Emling said.

Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].