Police activity increases

By Jason Pepe

Contributing Writer

For the most part, the transition of merging the Lewisburg Borough Police Department and the East Buffalo Township Police Department to form the Buffalo Valley Relgional Police Department (BVRPD) has been seamless, but University students have noticed an increased police presence downtown, specifically on Friday and Saturday nights.

Many students have complained about what they believe to be overly aggressive policing downtown.

“There is talk of general tension between police and students. These first few weeks haven’t gone well, which means that the next few weeks will be very strict,” Clinton Kittrell ’14, Vice President of Administration for BSG, said.

One incident that exacerbated tensions between students and the police occurred over the weekend of Feb. 10. An unidentified individual threw a brick through a police vehicle window, and pieces of lumber were reportedly thrown at police officers. It is unclear whether the individual was a University student. 

Paul Yost, chief of the BVRPD, stressed that incidents such as this will be treated as an assault on a police officer and dealt with in the most serious manner. Yost added that patrols will continue to be increased as necessary to provide safety and security to the downtown neighborhood area, and the police presence will be determined by the conduct of students off campus.

“I believe you will find our agency tolerant of off-campus activities, to a point,” Yost said. “However, large off campus-gatherings, underage consumption and general disorderly conduct will not be tolerated. If students call attention to themselves or cannot control their events, the police will become involved.”

Kittrel also stated that BSG is planning to implement an alert system which will allow students to report incidents in which they believe police officers have acted inappropriately.

Student behavior downtown over the next few weeks will likely influence police presence for the remainder of the semester. If students are resistant to the standards set by the BVRPD, they should be prepared to see a continued effort to suppress partying downtown. Students are encouraged to be aware of their rights as well as their expectations for downtown behavior. Inappropriate behavior should be reported.

 

SIDEBAR

The Lewisburg Borough Police Department and the East Buffalo Township Police Department merged to form the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department (BVRPD) on Feb. 6. The recently consolidated force consists of 15 police officers and combines both departments’ previous jurisdictions. The BVRPD’s new headquarters will be located at 2009 West Market Street, Lewisburg, and the only change in uniform will be a redesigned patch.
The merger will benefit the police from both a fiscal and an operational standpoint. Reductions in administrative and operational costs will result in long-term savings to both the Lewisburg and East Buffalo municipal governments. The combined police force will also allow for better training and specialization of its officers, who will be able to respond more efficiently to specific issues across both communities.
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