New safety measures will be added to campus buildings next semester and security officers will have an expanded range and presence, according to plans in development in the administration.
An internal proposal is calling for changes to Main Campus security beyond its current range, though some of the plans could not be discussed because they are still in the development stage, said student body president Darin Bartholomew. Representatives from Campus Safety Services recently held several forums with students in response to safety concerns after attacks on students near Main Campus.
While decling to cite specifics, Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone confirmed that CSS is working with TSG to determine an expanded patrol zone and improvements to building security.
Many students voiced a desire for a larger, more visible police presence. Bartholomew said there will not be a radical change to campus safety, but rather a “reallocation of resources.”
“We’re not talking about hiring hundreds of police officers and putting them on every single block,” Bartholomew said. “We’re going to do what we’re legally able to do.”
Bartholomew said he is most confident that Temple Police’s patrol zone will be expanded and the area made more simple to make it less confusing to students, landlords and businesses off Main Campus.
The current patrol area extends from Susquehanna Avenue in the north to Jefferson Street in the south, and from 9th to 16th streets east to west. However, the area is not uniform and some streets within the stated boundaries are not covered. By state law, campus police are legally allowed but not required to patrol and respond to incidents within 500 feet of property owned or operated by the university.
Temple Police’s current patrol zone does not extend the full distance allowed by the state.
“Some students have asked: ‘What about [expanding to] 18th and 19th streets?’” Bartholomew said. “Seventeenth makes the most sense because that’s where the response zone ends. That’s the hard boundary.”
Temple Police’s response zone, the area wherein it can operate if called for help, extends farther than its patrol zone, stretching from Dauphin Street to Master Street north to south and Eighth Street to 17th Street east to west.
“My goal is the two boundaries should be the same,” Bartholomew said. “For a student wanting to rent a house off campus, if it’s in the zone, they should know they get all the services, and if it’s not, they know they don’t get any.”
Bartholomew said he has been advocating for a larger, simpler police patrol area since he came into office. “When the off-campus zones were created, the Temple area was very different,” Bartholomew said.
Other safety proposals could involve revamping security inside Main Campus buildings.
In a Temple Student Government election debate on March 31, Student Body President-elect Ray Smeriglio floated a proposal to the crowd that Temple could consider moving to a tap- or swipe-only system for using student IDs to get into buildings. However, Smeriglio said after an interview with campus safety officials that the suggestion was not discussed further.
Bartholomew said he would “never advocate to go for IDing for all buildings. This is not a massive police state increase. We would maybe redesign entrances.”
He said security changes would go further than the security improvements already implemented on Main Campus, which added guards to Anderson Hall and the Student Center.
Smeriglio said his discussion with TUPD and CSS have centered on social media and transparency, after students raised complaints that incidents were going unreported by police.
“We’re working on how TSG social media can get information out to students,” Smeriglio said. “Everyone is looking to how to make TSG and police more transparent.”
Joe Gilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.