York Hill security questions arise

By on October 14, 2009

Quinnipiac Chief of Security and Safety John Twining has received quite a few calls from parents recently, asking why he’s covering up the assaults and car-jackings at the York Hill parking garage. Each time, he tells them the same thing.

“To my knowledge, there have been zero incidents in the garage.”

The talk about an incident in the garage may have began, he said, because of one case of mistaken identity in the garage at York Hill. Twining said a female student was pulling up to a spot in the garage, and then “a guy who was walking in the garage who knew her knocked on her window to get her attention, and she, having heard all kinds of rumors, was scared to death, and drove off and claimed that she was about to be car-jacked.”

But Twining did say more security was needed, both for Mount Carmel and York Hill. “In looking at that two years ago, I said I’m going to need people to staff it,” he said. “I didn’t get people to staff it until this fall.”

According to Twining, one full-time and two part-time security officers will be hired. As of now, there is only one full-time officer assigned to York Hill, and the rest of the shifts are picked up by officers working overtime. Twining said that was a problem, because “you can only work so many hours, and then you start to break down.”

He also said that Mount Carmel could use more officers. “I have X (amount of) people at the gates, I have two people on the road on the day shift,” he said. “That’s suicide, it’s nothing, it’s nobody. We need more.”

Junior Bobby Michelin said that security on campus is lacking.

“I can definitely understand why some students would feel unsafe at times since there really isn’t much security actually patrolling,” he said. “If anything I feel that security is sometimes more concerned with catching their own students doing something wrong, than actually keeping the students safe from other threats.”

Right now, the one security officer at York Hill is responsible for the Crescent, the parking garage, the TD Bank Sports Center and the surrounding area. Once the new officers are hired, there will be two officers on duty at all times, with one posted at the gatehouse to the garage.

Twining said that it was important for security officers to be very visible, if only to make students feel safer. “I’ve got to deal with the perception of people, because they’ve got to feel good,” he said. “And then I’ve got to actually keep them safe, which means I’ve got to do stuff other than just the gates.”

Twining would have liked to hire more officers for the openings of the York Hill and North Haven campus, but “nobody was willing to commit to hiring X number of people, and I wasn’t able to hire anybody,” he said. “Now that there are students up there, there’s all of a sudden a perceived need for coverage.”

photo by Andrew Vazzano

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