Post Classifieds

'Clery' fication from Campus Police chief

By Victoria Staples
On November 14, 2011

The News Argus published details in a news report about Campus Police and access to that department's crime blotter that have been disputed.  

The report  "Campus Police selectively provide information" published in the Oct. 25 issue was written by former Argus edi­tor-in-chief, Natalie Davis.

   The News Argus interviewed Police Chief Patricia Norris to get clarification about the Clery Act,  the Campus Police crime blotter, access to it, and other related issues.  

What follows is the first part of a two-part interview.  The second part of the interview will be published in the Dec. 6  issue.

The News Argus: You told an Argus staffer that you had been providing too much information to the Argus for its Campus Crime Blotter, based on your interpretation of the Clery Act.

You said you would provide details about a criminal activity to an Argus staffer verbally.

Chief Norris: The Clery document told us how to set up a log and in the log.

The only information that is required is the nature of the call, a case number, date and time reported, date and time the incident occurred, general location of the incident and the disposition of the case, and that's what we started doing.

We wanted to do something that was consistent with the way other campuses were doing it.

We wanted to make it more accessible to everybody on campus.

It's under Campus Police, and it's not the Campus Blotter anymore; it is the "WSSU Incident Reports."

The News Argus: The Argus staff has been trying produce a crime blotter similar to the one published in Carolina's  Daily Tar Heel.

Their online publication provides a crime blotter with full narratives without names.

Chief Norris: I have been working with your police reporter.

He comes over with a list of the complaint report numbers.

We look at each one, and I give him the information as much as I can without names included.

We [Campus Police] meet monthly with Forsyth County college and university chiefs of police.

 I ask each one of them how they were doing them [reporting criminal activity], and all of them do it just like the log we use now.  

We are consistent here in Forsyth County.

The News Argus:  How do you interpret the Clery Act as it pertains to the information you were required to provide.

Is it verbal, written, how does that work?

Chief Norris: We can provide information to anyone as long as it does not jeopardize an ongoing investigation, the safety of an individual, cause a suspect to flee or evade detection or result in the destruction of evidence.

The News Argus: How often does your department update the "WSSU Incident Report" [i.e., Crime Blotter]?

Chief Norris: Daily.

The News Argus: If something were to happen yesterday, I can get it today?

Chief Norris: Yes.

The News Argus: It [updating the "WSSU Incident Report"] is no longer a two-day process?

Chief Norris: No, Clery says that within two business days, it has to be reported.

That covers the weekends for us, so when we come in on Monday, the first thing we tackle is getting that blotter done and get it out there.

The Jeanne Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies.


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