Lawrence Hall now locked 24/7

Written By Nikole Kost, Photo Editor

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Lawrence Hall will remain locked at all times after the latest review of the safety and security protocols for campus.

Jeffrey Besong, Chief of Point Park’s Police Department sent a statement via email to all community members on Friday, Sept. 22 that stated:

“The Public Safety Department constantly reviews the safety and security protocols for the campus, one of the processes that we review is building access and security. Due to this latest review, starting on Monday, September 25th Lawrence Hall entrance doors will be locked 24/7, which will require community members to use their Point Park ID card to gain access to the building.”

According to Besong, Point Park is in the process of investing in a Visitor Management System to replace the current visitation system. The investment has been planned for the past eight months, but will not be in play for another three months.

“It’s extremely expensive to have desk attendants here on campus,” Besong said.

Security guards are on duty from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. A security guard is present at Lawrence Hall from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. additionally, but does not sign visitors in until 6 p.m.

While speaking at the United Student Government (USG) meeting on Monday, Besong immediately addressed the incident of the registered sex offender being arrested on campus in the beginning of this month.

“We get five to 10 calls a week for suspicious people, and that’s what this call that came in was,” Besong said.

Besong explained that anyone trespassing in campus buildings will receive a warning and be escorted from campus.  Additional offenses will result in trespassing charges.

“We write their name down,” Besong said. “Next time they are in a building and they cause a concern, that’s defined as trespassing. You’ll be charged for that.”

According to Officer Calvin Hall’s police report, “The reason why I was dispatched to the building for this subject was because he has been seen on many different occasions watching the students dance.”

The report stated Banks was on the property because “I [Dalbert Banks] was going to the restroom.”

Besong claims Point Park Police were unaware of Banks’ background as a registered sex offender until after a report was released by KDKA.

“They just said that he was a sexual predator,” Besong said. “We don’t know his whole background until you run the criminal background. They don’t run that over the air.”

The police report later went on to read, according to Officer Hall, “Upon my arrival I approached the subject and I recognized him as Dalbert Banks. I then ran his name through our dispatch which came back that he was a sex offender.”

When asked if the incident was a part of the recent review, Besong responded with, “I’m not sure.”

The police report confirms Banks had a “long knife” in his pocket, a small amount of marijuana in a bag and a rolled marijuana cigarette in his possession during arrest.

It is required by the Department of Education that emergency alerts are sent out if students, faculty, staff or anyone on campus is in great immediate danger.

Besong emphasized the lack of enrollment in the PointALERT system as a deciding factor when issuing notices.

“We only have less than 900 [people] for the whole university, and that’s extremely low,” Besong said. “My concern is that I should have sent a summary out to all of you and faculty and staff due to it being on KDKA.”

Besong said that the Point Park Police have made over 50 arrests this calendar year.

“Every single one of them was non-Point Park students, faculty or staff,” Besong said.

One downfall of having Lawrence Hall locked is the inconvenience for community dance class.

“I think that it just makes it harder for a lot of students because they are asking us [commuter dancers] to use our I.D. to not only unlock the door but also to sign in,” Michael Ocampo, a junior dance major and commuter student, said. “That’s what security is for is to secure the building so they don’t need to have the doors locked or have us signed in.”

“We are looking at dealing with trying to keep people safe, trying to keep all of you safe and trying to keep people off the property that shouldn’t be here,” Besong said.

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