Police incident logs found in violation of federal law

Campus Police recently updated a gap in its daily crime logs after The Signal found the public logbook to be at least 40 days behind the three-day grace period allowed by law.

According to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, police must keep a public crime log listing all crimes reported to the station. Police must have occurrences recorded in the public logs three days after the incident is reported, and the logs must be available for public viewing during business hours.

As of Sept. 18, the logs had not been updated in more than 40 days. The last entry was Aug. 9. After receiving an e-mail from The Signal informing Campus Police that the incomplete log violated the Clery Act, Campus Police updated the log to Sept. 18 by Oct. 3. As of Oct. 7, it was completely updated.

“I’m not familiar with the specifics,” Lt. Don Rizzo said when asked about compliance with the Clery Act. He said he knew that a public yearly crime report is required each October with crime statistics arranged by category.

“I never noticed whether it was daily or not,” he said, noting that Ray Nesci, former professional services specialist who left Campus Police last year, used to drop the latest logs on his desk every other week.

According to Kathryn Leverton, associate vice president for Administrative and Environmental Services, the problem with the log is because of the loss of Nesci.

“We’re currently in transition,” Leverton said. “We will be hiring an administrative sergeant within the next month to handle these issues.”

According to Leverton, the logs are being updated with regard to the standards set by the Clery Act. The log is updated daily, passed through Campus Police’s computer network and handed to Leverton, Rizzo and the dispatcher at the desk in hard copy form.

“This process clearly meets the expectations of the Clery Act, as the records are public in two different formats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.” Leverton said.

Leverton said she is not sure where the delay between the collection of information and publishing it in the public logs was occurring.

However, she and Rizzo both said that without someone in charge of updating this information, it is very hard to keep it up-to-date.

“I know I’m extremely busy,” Rizzo said.

“We’ve been working double and triple shifts to keep up,” Leverton said.

The dispatchers at the Campus Police desk are not informed of when or how the logs become updated, only that they are required to show the logs to any student who asks to see them, Campus Police said.

The Clery Act was created in memory of Jeanne Clery, a freshman at Lehigh University who was raped and murdered in April 1986, according to the Web site securityoncampus.org.

Her parents, who were not informed of the 38 violent crimes at Lehigh in the three years prior to Clery’s death, joined with other campus crime victims and lobbied Congress to pass a law requiring colleges to release crime statistics.

The timely warning e-mails and yearly reports circulated by Campus Police, to help students understand any dangers on campus, are part of the Clery Act as well.