Senate CLAC & Wellness and Safety Committees Host Discussion with Police Chief

By Ella Prieto, Assistant News Editor

On Friday, two Student Senate committees, College Life Advisory (CLAC) and Wellness and Safety (W&S), hosted Gettysburg Chief of Police Robert Glenny in CUB 212 from 2 to 4 p.m. Executive Director of Campus Safety Alex Wiltz also attended.  

The Chair of W&S Dominic DiLuzio ’26 and Chairs of CLAC Andrew Lemon ’24 and Isabella Roy ’25 compiled questions for Chief Glenny from their committee meetings and directed questions from members of the Student Senate.

“The reason we wanted to have this meeting today is to work on what we discussed last semester, talk more about how we can improve the relationship between the police and the student body, and how that relationship is right now,” said DiLuzio.

The first question asked was if the Gettysburg police department practiced community policing, which is defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as “a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.” 

Chief Glenny answered that the department is working on building its community policing elements by increasing the time officers are on bikes and foot, which he said he believes makes them more approachable to community members. 

“I like to say that I want to have an agency that goes one step forward and be a solution-oriented agency,” added Glenny. “We should be offering solutions to every situation we encounter.”

He added that his goal is to have officers spend 30 to 45 minutes on foot or bike patrol during the spring when the weather is warm.

DiLuzio then asked how the Department shared its duties with other police departments that surround the Borough, as the Gettysburg Borough sees a lot of foot traffic due to being the county seat. 

Glenny explained that various offices, such as the Pennsylvania State Police, the National Parks Services and the Sheriff’s Office, all have jurisdiction to use their powers when they are on duty for those offices. Furthermore, those offices, as well as nearly all police departments in the surrounding area, have mutual aid agreements with the Gettysburg Police Department. This means that in a time of need, departments from other townships can intervene to help the Gettysburg Department. 

Senator At-Large Michael Klatt ’25 then asked about the contention between those in town and Gettysburg College students, particularly asking if this is reflected in issues the police deal with. 

Chief Glenny mentioned that he has discussed this issue with Executive Director of Campus Safety Alex Wiltz, and he said, “There is probably fewer than 5 percent of whatever particular group that gives the rest of that group a bad name,” referring to individuals living in town and students. 

While Glenny said he does see some contention, he felt that it is adequately dealt with and asserted that police are trained to treat College students the same as any other resident of Gettysburg. 

Glenny then shared some specific statistics about the department. While he could not share exactly how many students dealt with the Gettysburg Police, he explained that the department is in the process of getting a new system that will identify how many students have dealt with the police.

The data, dating back from Aug. 1, 2022, included 72 written citations, 57 of which were written during the night shift that starts at 4:30 p.m. Glenny said that he believes the majority of citations occurring during the night shift were due to college students. There were 230 arrests during the night shift, including citations. 

He also mentioned that Gettysburg Police have information regarding their activities on their website, Facebook and Crime Watch. 

In terms of specific officers, Glenny shared that there have been no formal complaints filed against a police officer since Aug. 1, 2022. He also said that all of the officers are nearly equivalent to each other in the number of arrests and citations they made. 

CLAC Co-Chair Andrew Lemon asked Glenny about an increase in the police presence on campus, as some students had reported this to CLAC. 

Glenny answered that while he cannot answer exactly where officers patrol, he would attribute an increase in officers patrolling to the loud parties that police have received many calls over. He shared that two houses in particular are frequently called about in regard to noise complaints. However, they have never been given a citation because officers have not found the noise to be unreasonable. 

Additionally, Glenny said that police do laps around “party houses” to ensure that nothing worrisome occurs. 

“Our job is to prevent [dangerous situations] from happening,” said Glenny. “So just driving through, we think it’s going to prevent that.” 

Furthermore, if police know of a large event happening on campus, they make sure to have one or two officers in the area to either stop anything dangerous from happening or to assist if something detrimental does happen. 

DiLuzio then discussed how students tend to not want the campus to feel occupied by police and asked for Glenny’s opinions about that sentiment.

Glenny said he wishes for students to be more trusting of police, instead of fearful or apprehensive of them.

“I don’t want to see somebody not like us, because we want to be here to help them,” he said.

DiLuzio followed with a question about the police’s medical amnesty policy. 

Glenny answered that while there is medical amnesty in limited instances, there is not a blanket policy. He then described the levels of a police encounter so that students could understand why a police officer might stop them. 

The first level is a mere encounter, which is frequent with police officers, and consists of simply saying a greeting. The next level is reasonable suspicion, where the person an officer had a mere encounter with seems to be engaging in illegal activity. At this point, the police are under an oath to either dispel or confirm that activity. The final level is probable cause, which is when a police officer is confident illegal activity is occurring and an arrest or citation can be made. 

Following this description, Klatt asked Glenny’s opinion about the fall in public trust of the police. 

“I think COVID really had an impact on public trust in any government to some extent,” said Glenny. 

However, he said he is working to bring that trust back through initiatives such as community policing. He also described how public safety is actual and perceived and that the best police departments try to be somewhere in the middle to ensure citizens’ trust.

DiLuzio then asked if the police wear body cameras. Glenny affirmed that they do, but the department runs out of them during large events, because they only have eight cameras.

The footage of these body cameras is randomly selected to be watched unless there is a specific incident to be reviewed. This footage, however, is not public and is exempt from the Right to Know Act. Glenny also described that through a Chief Order made by him, officers must have the sound on for their cameras. 

Senator Alfredo Roman Jordan ’26 asked Glenny to clarify the reasonable suspicion aspect of the police encounter levels, specifically asking if the police are obligated to stop and breathalyze someone who stumbles while walking.

Glenny answered that they would not have to be breathalyzed, but a prudent officer will stop them to ensure they are okay.

A follow-up question asked if underage drinking warrants an arrest or a citation, to which Glenny answered that it depends on the situation. He advised that those being charged with underage drinking should always identify themselves, because the police will have to take them to jail until they can discern who they are. 

The other reason someone would be taken to jail for underage drinking is if the police were worried about their safety if they were to be on their own. Glenny said that rarely happens on campus, as Gettysburg Police have an agreement with Campus Safety to release concerning students into their custody rather than taking them to jail. 

Additionally, any time a student is given a citation or arrested, Campus Safety is notified. 

Regarding Campus Safety calling for additional help from the police on campus, Wiltz and Glenny explained that this rarely happens and is only due to a big incident occurring. 

There was also a question about how an arrest is different from a citation. Glenny answered that it is hard to exactly define an arrest, but it is essentially the official charging for illegal activity Hence, a citation can end in an arrest. 

It was then asked how Glenny views the relationship between Campus Safety and the Gettysburg Police. Glenny said that while it can always improve and that there are some personality clashes, he believes a professional relationship is always maintained.

There was also a discussion of respect needed on both sides of police and student encounters. Lemon mentioned that students need to refrain from name-calling when dealing with the police. 

CLAC Co-Chair Isabella Roy ’25 asked Glenny if there were any instances of mutual disrespect, and he answered yes. However, he said those situations have been addressed. 

Next, Klatt asked if there were any ways for the police to track encounters with civilians rather than just arrests and citations. Glenny answered that there was no way to do that due to the informal nature of most encounters. He did add, however, that he believes most police presence on campus ends as encounters rather than arrests or citations. 

Lemon then asked if measures were being taken about people driving through campus and shouting at students, an issue that was prevalent last semester. 

Glenny answered that there have been, but that he would advise students to give “prompt notification” to the police of when these events happen so that they are able to better handle it. Furthermore, he stressed that students should call the police rather than Campus Safety when anything regarding law enforcement is needed. 

Lemon followed up, asking if the patrol car brought on campus helped with this issue. Glenny said yes, and added that the College paid for the police to be brought on campus to specifically deal with the individuals shouting at students. 

DiLuzio then mentioned how the College is the most diverse area of the borough, and questioned if the police reflect any of that diversity.

“No, but I would certainly like it to,” said Glenny.

He explained that the department is currently hiring two additional officers, and he is working to make sure they have a diverse pool of applicants. Glenny has taken steps to ensure that diversity is prevalent by convincing the Borough Council to pay for police certification for those they hire and by advertising the job on Handshake. He also clarified that he does not choose applicants, but the Borough’s Civil Service Commission does.

DiLuzio then asked Glenny to clear up a rumor that was going around campus whether police are using jaywalking as an excuse to stop students and give them alcohol citations. He answered that this was not true as police on duty do not need an excuse to talk to someone. Police can always have a mere encounter as previously described by the levels of policing.

Next, DiLuzio asked if the police had a plan in the case of a campus shooting following the frequent number of them in the past year. 

Glenny said yes, and while he did not want to reveal any police strategies, he said that the department has had active shooter training. The department also has gear such as patrol rifles and trauma kits donated by WellSpan to deal with a shooting. He and Wiltz also assured that Campus Safety has a plan in place as well.

Klatt then asked if a mental health professional was available in the department. Glenny answered yes, but said that the program is in its infancy. Despite that, the Mental Health Co-Responder has helped a number of people with de-escalation skills. 

To conclude the meeting, Roy discussed with Glenny the possibility of a cook-out with police to facilitate a positive relationship with students. Glenny said he is open to the idea and would love to participate in any campus events to make students feel more trusting of the police.

Author: Ella Prieto

Ella Prieto ’26 serves as the Managing Editor for the Gettysburgian. Previously, she worked as the News Editor, the Assistant News Editor, and as a staff writer for the News and Arts & Entertainment sections. Ella is a double major in Public Policy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a Writing Minor. On campus, Ella volunteers with the Casa Swim program, is an It’s On Us Fellow in the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX, and is the President of the Panhellenic Council. She loves to read and keep up with celebrity drama in her free time.

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