Last updated: March 17. 2013 3:07AM - 322 Views
Bill O'Boyle

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WILKES-BARRE -- Members of the Downtown Residents Association met Monday with representatives of a Vermont security firm hired by Wilkes University to discuss their concerns about their neighborhood.

Chip Prescott, vice president/general counsel for Wilkes, said the university is involved in an assessment of its Office of Public Safety.

He said the process is conducted by colleges and universities periodically to evaluate the effectiveness of campus security and to benefit from best practices at the nation‚??s other colleges and universities throughout the country.

‚??We have engaged Margolis Healy, a firm with considerable expertise and experience in the field of campus public safety,‚?Ě Prescott said.

Pat Parks, coordinator of the Downtown residents association, said Prescott contacted her and requested a meeting with the consultants to offer input for the assessment. ‚??We are always interested in discussing our concerns,‚?Ě said Parks. ‚??And Wilkes wants to assure that the residents of the campus neighborhood feel safe.‚?Ě
About 30 residents attended the meeting in the Wilkes University Henry Student Center. They listed several concerns regarding on-campus security: better lighting on university buildings and crosswalks; traffic calming needed on South Franklin and South River streets; student behavior; River Common activity; and security cameras.

‚??Chip Prescott called me and told me Wilkes was looking at updating its security plan,‚?Ě Parks said. ‚??He said (President) Patrick Leahy wants to review everything and campus security was high on the list.‚?Ě
Parks said the traditional ‚??party houses‚?Ě on campus have calmed down this year. She said the meeting was not scheduled because of any reported incidents.
‚??We do hope to hear the results of the assessment when it‚??s completed,‚?Ě Parks said.

The university and representatives of Margolis Healey met with students Tuesday to provide them an opportunity to learn about the assessment process and to offer input that the team will use in its evaluation of the school‚??s public safety operation.
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