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Grasselli library patrol puts students’ safety first

December 6th, 2012

Students inhabiting Grasselli Library and Breen Learning Center long into the late hours of the night may have noticed the men and women walking around with blue vests and radios. While one is entrenched in their riveting “Principles of Macroeconomics” book, one may have not connected that these people are in the library to ensure the safety of the students who are studying in the quiet space late at night.

These students are the library patrol – the young men and women who have taken on the job of safeguarding the students of John Carroll University who are up late studying or reading in the library.

The library patrol is a group of students who are trained by the campus police, specifically Assistant Director of Campus Safety Services Brian Hurd and the library security coordinator, Connie Brooks.

“Throughout shifts, the library patrol works to assure the security of the library patrons, collections, materials and building. The library patrol assists with closing procedures, including clearing the building of patrons according to listed user hours and locking down the building,” said Brooks.

The library patrol receives training in basic safety and security procedures including radio use, documentation of events, response and notification of medical emergencies, basic fire extinguisher training, evacuation plan of the library, library procedures related to safety, security and closing, guest user procedures and scenario training. The scenario training allows the students to use their skills in controlled, simulated emergency situations.

Students on the patrol are tested based on these skills, and they must be in the 92nd percentile or better if they wish to remain on patrol. Sophomore Angela Cardena, a member of the library patrol, explained that she took the job because she wanted to get the experience of “protecting others,” and she has also learned a lot and has met “some amazing people” while working to keep the library safe.

Brooks also explained that she is a certified crime prevention specialist, and she received certification with the American Crime Prevention Institute in Louisville, Ky. She has also received training in “many library-specific safety and security training programs.”

Her role in the library is to be the “direct supervisor” of the library patrol. Brooks said, “I provide training, supervision and guidance.  I administer the testing for the patrol and monitor the patrol’s daily operations.”

In addition, Brooks is the library’s liaison with CSS. “Because the library is a 100,000 square-foot building and provides service to both students and the public, it has special security and safety needs,” Brooks explained. “Working with Brian Hurd and the campus police department helps provide a more secure and safe environment for students, faculty and staff.”

At the moment, the library patrol is only working at night, but Brooks noted that she is going to reevaluate the “merit” of an increased patrol in January, and she hopes to get the input of the Student Union.

One of the new services that the library patrol is working to add for next semester is an escort service for students who are walking back to their dorms or vehicles from the library late at night. Many students have voiced concerns about walking alone from one side of campus to the other, which initially prompted JCU to add more lighting along the sidewalks by Hamlin Quad.

The library patrol has already received training to provide this service even though the official “roll-out” of the service will not happen until next semester. Brooks noted that the patrol has already received requests from students for this service and the patrol has accompanied them back to their dorms.

The service will be provided from 10 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, if the patrol is not otherwise occupied. Brooks added, “Brian Hurd and I have discussed providing this service for quite some time. We may expand it depending upon the availability of trained patrol members and the wants and needs of JCU students.”

Senior Bill Cook thinks the escort service is a good addition to JCU. “I feel it is a great idea to give students the peace of mind walking alone at night and will build community,” he said. “This may also be a good alternative, considering how dimly lit the campus tends to be after dark.” Cook added that JCU’s top priority should be the safety of the students. If people feel unsafe walking back to their rooms or cars, JCU should rectify that, he said.

While the library patrol may be the source of some good-humored laughter, their positions are another facet designed to keep students and the campus safe. “We are trained to keep things safe and secure for others,” Cardena affirmed. “I do hope that one day the jokes will stop, because, honestly, the library patrol is for [the students]. And we are actually really fun and crazy people. We’re here for you guys.”