Safety on the Campus and Beyond
Many of you have heard about the off-campus attack Monday night that left one of our students suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. I write to update you on that situation and to remind you of some of the safety initiatives now under way on and around our campus.
The student, Drew Daly, a senior art major from Hillsborough, is recovering from his wounds at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. Thanks to the quick response from the Greenville Police Department and the ECU Police Department, four suspects were arrested minutes after the shooting. All four are charged with burglary and multiple counts of armed robbery. One is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Greenville police arrested two additional suspects on Wednesday and filed multiple charges against them.
According to the police, the incident took place at a house a block away from the campus, where a party was being held. The suspects drove up to the house, and, armed with a shotgun, a handgun and a knife, robbed at least 10 people. Police describe it as a “crime of opportunity.” Mr. Daly was shot during an altercation with the suspects.
I wish Mr. Daly a speedy recovery and I salute the work of the Greenville Police Department on this case. The university police have a long and successful record of cooperation with the city police. As Greenville Police Chief William Anderson said Tuesday at a press conference: “This morning’s police response and the arrests...is another example of the excellent working relationship the Greenville Police Department and the East Carolina University Police Department share in dealing with these crimes that affect our community, the students, and the neighborhoods that surround the University campus. The two departments have a continuing mutual aid agreement and have worked together to develop different programs and special patrols to combat crimes and to educate the public in crime prevention and reporting. The quick response of officers from both departments resulted in the arrest of these suspects today.”
I am pleased that both departments will increase patrols, both on foot and in squad cars, in the area between the campus and the Tar River. Here are several of the other safety initiatives under way at East Carolina University:
- We have continuing education efforts aimed at encouraging our students to avoid risky behavior such as walking alone after dark.
- We provide late-night bus transportation from downtown to the campus and to various off-campus communities with large student populations.
- We have expanded the network of security video cameras on campus to allow our university police to more closely monitor activity.
- The ECU Police Department has installed a VIPER radio system, which allows instant communication with other law enforcement agencies, including the Greenville Police Department and Pitt County Memorial Hospital police.
- We are upgrading security measures in the residence halls, including new locking systems on exterior doors and improved exterior lighting.
- We have initiated a text-message alert system, in addition to our email and campus computer system alerts, to provide information on immediate threats to our students from any source. Parents may also register to receive these alerts.
- We have under way a comprehensive study and revision of all our campus policies related to safety and to crisis management. This effort will complement upcoming reports from a Safety Task Force assembled by the University of North Carolina system.
In closing, as I have said before, nothing is more important than the safety of our students, faculty and employees. We recognize the tremendous responsibility we have in this arena, and it is our No. 1 priority.