The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC security addresses recent safety concerns

Liz Harter | Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Saint Mary’s director of security Dave Gariepy and assistant director of security Stan Klimczak addressed concerned Regina Hall residents about security issues and concerns in at a meeting in the North Lounge of the hall Thursday evening.

“There was a lot of concern… about the man on the roof,” Gariepy said. “There’s a lot of basis for concern with the way security responded [to that incident].”

Gariepy, referring to the trespasser who escaped custody after making his way onto the roof of Regina Hall April 5, alluded to the seemingly slow response to the incident from Saint Mary’s Security detailed in the article “Slow Security response raises questions” in the April 17 edition of The Observer.

“The claims made by students to a large degree are absolutely accurate,” he said.

The e-mail inviting Regina residents to the meeting said there is an “ongoing investigation about the incident” and all residents were encouraged to attend the meeting to “find out what security had done” regarding the case and what steps have been taken to make sure that it does not happen again.

Gariepy said security has investigated the incident further and found some discrepancies between the reports filed by the responding officer and the concerns voiced by the anonymous source quoted in the April 17 article.

“Our initial reports didn’t indicate [that Security] had to come a second time before they searched the roof,” he said. “To us, reading the report, we read it as the roof had been checked on the first time.”

Gariepy said the initial responding officer saw the man on the roof and made a decision about the situation.

“The officer explained that she made a bad judgment call,” he said. “Another call came in that diverted her attention and because of what she had assumed she went to help the other call. By the time our officer went up on the roof [the suspect] had made his escape.”

He stressed there should not be any men on the roof after dark, and the construction taking place on the roof of the building has been completed so there should be no ladders near the building at night either.

“There shouldn’t be roofing contractors up there after dark,” Gariepy said. “We explained that to the officer who responded. It’s a relatively new officer with quite a bit of experience. She’s trained officers and served as assistant security director at a different college.”

Gariepy said security is making changes in response to the situation so that such an occurrence does not happen again.

“That’s not the way we would respond to the situation and that’s not the way we want our officers responding to it,” he said. “We want to make sure that security is responding adequately to your calls for help.”

Kliczmak said the most important thing a student can do to help keep campus safe is to call security about suspicious activity.

“Don’t assume that someone else is going to [make the call], don’t assume that it’s nothing,” he said. “If we don’t know about it there’s no way that we’re even going to have a chance to catch anybody.”

Kliczmak said students should never hesitate to call Security.

“If you do not get an adequate response the next morning call myself or Dave [Gariepy],” he said. “We do not cover anything up. We’ve made a mistake, we can do better.”

Kliczmak said security is encouraging students to give their name and number when they call because they want officers to be able to respond to the student after they have investigated the activity that is reported.

“We’re encouraging our guys to make contact with the person who made the complaint. You should be called back and explain what was found, that’s just good police work or security work,” Gariepy said.

The incident, Gariepy said, will be used in a positive manner as a method of training for the Department of Security.

“When we make mistakes – even if it’s not our mistake – we want to learn from it and make sure they’re not repeated,” he said.

The two said they want students to be safe in the choices that they make. Gariepy stressed walking in groups if they walk to the Grotto after dark or utilizing the escort service available.

“We encourage good safe decisions and safe transportation options,” he said.


The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC security addresses recent safety concerns

Mandi Stirone | Wednesday, November 5, 2008

While many Saint Mary’s students have voiced concerns about Saint Mary’s security, some Opus Hall residents have recently come forward with positive feedback about it.

Opus, a seniors-only apartment complex, is located on-campus behind Madeleva Hall.

Seniors Haley Nickell and Molly Pfister were in their first floor quad’s living room when their third roommate asked if either of them had seen a suspicious man walking around outside the building.

Pfister and Nickell both went into their separate bedrooms and saw the same man, they said.

“He continued to walk around and just kind of stand outside the windows of our bedrooms,” Nickell said.

The third roommate who had originally seen them man called security and reported the incident as the man continued walking around Opus, they said.

“[Security] said they’d be right over,” Nickell said.

While they were waiting for security to come, the man had walked all the way around the back of the building, Pfister said.

“I went to the lobby to see where he was going and he got in a big sketchy truck and left,” Nickell said.

That was when the third roommate called security back to inform them that the man had left. Security told them, however, they were going to come check things out anyway, she said.

“They came over within five minutes and came into our apartment and had us show them where the man had been as well as had us describe him and his truck,” she said.

The roommates were then reassured of their safety and given advice for ensuring that they were safe after security left, they said.

“They encouraged us to close our blinds and make sure all of our windows were locked,” Nickell said.

Pfister also said security officers arrived quickly and did a check of the entire outside of the building after leaving their apartment.

“I saw them outside looking around our windows where we had seen the man,” she said.

In addition to checking Opus Hall, security did a search of the campus for the man, Nickell said.

“They told us they were going to circle Saint Mary’s a few times to see if they saw anyone suspicious or the truck we had described,” Nickell said.

According to the Saint Mary’s security report filed on April 16, the man was described as a “white male standing near a window and bushes at Opus Hall around 11:55 p.m.,” Director of Security Dave Gariepy said.

While the caller was still on the phone with security, a second student saw the man getting into a “maroon colored Chevy style pickup,” and left via Douglass Road, he said.

“Two officers responded quickly but the vehicle had already left,” Gariepy said.

All officers on duty that night were alerted and told to watch for the man or his pickup truck, but he was not seen on campus again, he said.

“It is unknown whether this person was here for legitimate reasons or something other,” he said.

A security alert was not issued to the campus because the situation was investigated and it was ascertained that there was not a continuing or imminent threat to campus, Gariepy said.

“[I won’t] send an alert message and have everyone all stirred up about something we can’t identify as a continuing or imminent threat,” he said.

Both Opus Hall residents stated that they felt security did a good job in handling the situation, they said.

“I know I feel safer knowing security is around and hopefully this particular instance was nothing,” Pfister said.

Nickell also pointed out that the incident occurred the night before The Observer ran part one of the two-part series on Saint Mary’s Security, entitled “Slow Security Response Raises questions.”

“I think it’s important for people to know that this all happened before that article was run,” she said.

Liz Harter contributed reporting to this article.