|Q & A with Campus Police Director
For release: October 3, 2007
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At a Campus Safety Forum held October 2, 2007, at the University of Memphis, U of M Director of Police Services Bruce Harber gave students, faculty, and staff an update on the Memphis Police Department’s investigation into the Sept. 30 shooting death of Taylor Bradford, a U of M student and Tiger football player. Harber discussed campus safety in general and he answered specific questions from approximately 150 members of the audience. Harber’s remarks were published yesterday on our Web site; below are the questions and answers, with Harber’s answers in italics.
Have you learned any information from surveillance video about the Taylor Bradford tragedy?
Due to the ongoing investigation, we cannot say at this time.
There are now increased patrols at Carpenter and other dorms—will it continue?
We will leave the extra patrols in place for awhile and keep them there as long as needed.
Why aren’t there cameras at the dorms?
There are some cameras in the lots. If students tell us they want cameras around the dorms, we will look into it. It has been a privacy issue.
Are intercoms at the dormitories available to inform residents of an emergency? If not, can they be installed?
We closed down the dorms to anyone other than residents; residents were allowed to enter. Our Outdoor Warning System also has boxes which can be installed inside buildings which can relay the warnings in buildings. Dormitory residents are now notified through Police Dispatch (which calls dorm desks).
The back of Carpenter Complex is very open. Is there anything that can be done to make sure no one enters from the back?
Emergency phones are being placed in newer units. Prior to beginning of semester, Director Harber and SGA President Gionni Carr toured the campus to identify safety issues. Police Services will look at the lighting, vegetation/bushes, etc., in the back of Carpenter for improvement. The gate to Carpenter is staffed by Residence Life.
Is the entry gate to Carpenter Complex staffed with security or armed guards? No one was in the booth the night of the incident.
Someone was in the booth before and after incident. Also, there is a camera at the gate, as well as a record of everyone who swipes their card to get into the lot. If guards are utilized, a walking guard in the area with a radio to contact Police Services would be the best choice.
The gate at Richardson Towers has been broken for three weeks; anyone can come in. What can be done?
It was recently repaired, and has been repaired several times since the fall semester began. Last week, someone was caught, ticketed, and is being billed for the repair costs. Cameras will help identify those responsible for breaking the gate. Charging them for repair costs should help reduce the incidents.
What is being done for the safety of students with night classes or night jobs? Tiger Patrol is not always there; sometimes there is a long wait.
Tiger Patrol is available to take students to their cars or dorms from dusk until 2 a.m. After that time, police officers will pick up students. There has been an increased demand for Tiger Patrol this semester. Security officers have provided escorts when Tiger Patrol has been busy. If you are advised there is a long wait for Tiger Patrol and you do not feel like you can wait, please call Police Dispatch (678-HELP) and ask for an officer to escort you.
Is there the possibility of a card system for the residence towers? Residents must ring doorbell after hours to get in and wait, sometimes up to 2 minutes, for the door to be unlocked.
The new dorms will have card access on certain floors. This information about the delay in opening the doors will be given to Danny Armitage. A camera may be considered to help desk workers recognize people seeking entry.
Regarding the Lot 29 gate – If an access card to the gate is not working, it can sometimes take up to 15 minutes for a response to get in.
After hours, the intercom switches to Police Dispatch. If dispatch is taking an emergency call, then it may cause a short delay in allowing gate access. If someone blocks your car in while waiting and you feel unsafe, drive through the gate if necessary. When students have a problem with their access cards, they should take their card to Parking Services for assistance.
I see more ticket writers on campus than police officers.
The ticket writers work under Parking Services. They observe things going on and often report things to Police Services so they are our eyes and ears as well. Police Services is going to have more bike officers on the interior of the campus during afternoon/evening hours to address the complaint of just seeing officers in parking lots and not on the campus.
Can we increase the number of Tiger Patrol carts?
Yes, we are adding an additional cart. Tiger Patrol responds to 50 – 60 requests a night.
Are there cameras in Carpenter Complex?
There is a camera on the gate. The new emergency blue light phones will have cameras as well.
Is anything being done about the lighting at the Zach Curlin lot and the vegetation there to improve safety?
The property belongs to MLGW. We received approval in the past to install lighting and a fence. All lots are routinely patrolled by officers.
Can an observation tower be placed in Zach Curlin lot?
We cannot cut the trees down because these are not our trees. It’s not our property. If the lot is ever expanded, it could be looked at then.
The outdoor warning system cannot be heard inside in some areas.
If the outdoor warning system is activated, usually it is for severe weather, and the warning will be ask everyone to stay inside. We are looking at adding displays in lobbies with information. The tones of the outdoor warning system can be heard better than the voice. Also, text messaging is available to everyone on campus, but you have to sign up for it – tigertext.memphis.edu.
The TigerText message did not say what was going on Sunday night; information was limited.
The system only allows for a limited number of text characters. If there is an imminent threat, the message will be clear.
Are surveillance cameras been considered for the dorm desks?
There are cameras in the parking lots. We are looking at digital recording. A camera may be considered to help desk workers recognize people seeking entry.
The sorority houses have a better lighting system than the Carpenter lot. Can lighting improvements be made?
We are increasing the lighting standards in these areas.
Is security (police) increased during weekends?
Police Services has the same number of officers during the day and night each day of the week. We will be more visible around the residence halls and parking lots.
After 10:30 p.m., the Zach Curlin and Carpenter lots are dark when we go to the library. They need lighting improvements.
We began making lighting improvements a few years ago. By the library, we have installed a new emergency phone with camera. Cameras are also installed on the north side of the library. After 10 p.m., students can park in the Engineering lot which is closer to the library.
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