The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 2, 2009

Arm of the law getting longer on UPJ campus

Pitt-Johnstown students are working together to keep their campus safe.

The university has implemented the Residential Safety Associate program and asked students to be the eyes and ears of the campus.

“This program came out of our overall strategic plan and is to ensure the safety of our students because that is a primary concern and goal on this campus,” said Jonathan Wescott, vice president for student affairs.

Fourteen students are involved in the program and are learning how to patrol the campus. They have been hired through campus employment.

Phase one of the training was completed Saturday.

Students learned such things as proper radio usage, how to write reports, ethics, communications and how to deal with the different personality types they might encounter while on the job.

“The students are not replacing campus police, but serving as an extension to what we have,” Wescott said. “Their primary purpose is to observe rather than engage and serve as witnesses to problems.”

Phase two, in which students will be trained in CPR and first aid, will be held March 21, said Eric Zangaglia, associate chief of campus safety and security.

“The response to this has been very positive because we are providing additional assistance to university officials and are able to report more problems and safety concerns,” Zangaglia said.

It is hoped that the program will grow and more students will want to participate.

“We are looking for students who have good GPAs, someone who hasn’t had previous negative involvement with campus police and someone who has a good personality and wants to help other students,” Zangaglia said.

Wescott added that being an RSA student could foster an interest in law enforcement as a career choice.

“Everything we are doing is a step in the right direction, and we expect to continue with this next semester,” he said.

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Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
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Tougher sentencing by the court system.
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