About the Department of Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety is located on the ground floor of the parking garage located at 148 S. Main St. The Department of Public Safety provides uniformed services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This office consists of 21 full-time officers and seven communications officers, responsible for handling incoming calls and dispatching officers. Public safety officers make regular patrols of the University grounds and buildings by foot, bike and vehicle.
The Department of Public Safety's uniformed officers are PA Act 235-certified and have detaining powers. Each employee is trained in basic emergency medical procedures, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Fifteen officers have advanced PA Act 120 training, which is required of municipal police officers in the state. These officers carry firearms while on duty. Act 120 training requires more than 700 hours of comprehensive training covering every aspect of law enforcement and firearm management.
While Public Safety is responsible for safety and security on campus, they can't do it alone. Safety at Wilkes is a partnership between officers and the community they serve. We are all Public Safety, from faculty, to staff, to student, and each of us is charged with the responsibility to look out for each other. Call us immediately if you observe suspicious activity or people on or around campus. A community that takes an active role in being aware and responsive is a safe community.
Wilkes University provides a number of services and programs to the campus community to ensure the safety and security of our campus affiliates. These services strive to emphasize proactive measures in order to minimize the need for reactive responses. We must all take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of others. Promptly and accurately reporting any and all criminal acts, dangerous situations and suspicious behaviors greatly assists in the provision of a safe campus community.
Security Awareness Programs are sponsored by various campus groups (including, but not limited to, the Department of Public Safety, the University Health Services Office, the Office of Residence Life, and Student Development) throughout the academic year, and targeted towards the entire campus community (students, faculty, and staff).
- All first-year resident students are required to attend residence hall meetings in September, where they are informed of all safety, fire, and security procedures and precautions
- Campus Advisory Reporting Extension or "C.A.R.E." is a program designed to allow students to phone in anonymous information regarding safety and security concerns both on campus and in the community. If making the report from an on-campus phone, dial CARE (2273); or if making a report from an off campus phone, dial 570-408-CARE (2273). All calls are recorded by a digital answering machine, which will not be able to identify the incoming caller's extension or phone number.
- The Department of Public Safety operates a "Safe Escort Service" on campus for any member of the University community who requires an escort from dusk until dawn. This escort may consist of a vehicle or walking escort depending on the activities at the time of the call. To request an escort, dial the Public Safety Communications Center at Ext. 4999. The Wilkes "Safe Escorts Service" is a service intended to provide escorts for persons who actually need an escort and do not wish to walk alone at night.
- In addition, the Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with Residence Life and Health & Wellness Services, conducts programs throughout the calendar year to raise awareness of certain dangers of campus life, such as Alcohol Awareness Week, Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and the "Take Back the Night" program.
- "The Light Walk" At the beginning of each fall semester, members of the Department of Public Safety, Student Affairs staff, Facilities Services staff and Student Government tour the campus for the purpose of ascertaining any additional needs for outdoor lighting or other factors that will enhance campus safety and security. The items that require repairs are taken care of immediately, while new requests are prioritized based on importance and facility needs.
The Department of Public Safety prepares, publishes, and distributes this annual report in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (The "Clery Act"). In addition to Federal and State compliance, this report serves several other purposes:
- Shows how the University reports, investigates and handles crime and fire emergency situations on or near University property;
- Advises the University community of the many University resources that are available to assist it in emergencies;
- Provides tips to mitigate threats to the safety of the University community;
- Provides other safety and security information to the University community so that informed decisions may be made.
Each year the Department of Public Safety sends an email notification to all current students, faculty and staff providing an electronic copy of the report along with a web link to access the report. The current Annual Security and Fire Safety Report available on the Department of Public Safety's website: http://www.wilkes.edu/safetyreport. You may also request a copy mailed to you by ca
To aid in the prevention of similar crimes, the director of public safety (or designee) will develop and issue timely warning notices. The purpose of the notice is to inform members of the community about crimes that have occurred on campus, on non-campus property, or on public property where it is determined that the incident may pose a serious or ongoing threat to members of the University community.
Wilkes University communicates during crisis and emergency situations across multiple means and modalities such as:
- Mass Notification Text Alerts
- Wilkes Website
- Social Media
- Local News
Reports of missing students will be immediately directed to the Department of Public Safety, which has the responsibility and authority to investigate each report and make a determination whether the student is missing. If any member of the Wilkes community believes that a student is missing, it is the University's policy that the Department of Public Safety should be contacted immediately at 570-408-4999.
In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 2008, and in addition to registering a general emergency contact, all resident students have the opportunity to confidentially register an individual to be contacted in the event the student is determined missing for more than 24 hours. A student who wishes to identify a confidential contact can do so at the beginning of each year. This contact information will be accessible only by authorized campus officials in the offices of Residence Life, Student Affairs, and Public Safety, and will not be disclosed except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing student investigation.
Reports of missing on-campus residents should be made to the Department of Public Safety. Reports of missing students who live off-campus should typically be made to the law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction. No waiting period exists for the Department of Public Safety to document information and report an individual as missing. The Department of Public Safety will ensure all reasonable and necessary investigation, notification, dissemination of information, coordination of resources and searches are conducted to resolve missing person cases.
After investigating a missing person report, should the Department of Public Safety determine that the student has been missing for 24 hours, the University will notify the Wilkes-Barre City Police and the student's emergency contact no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing. If the missing student is under the age of 18 and is not an emancipated individual, the University will notify the student's parent or legal guardian immediately after the Department of Public Safety has determined that the student has been missing for 24 hours.
The possession or use of firearms, deadly weapons, or explosives or explosive substances on University property by unauthorized persons is strictly forbidden. CO2 and spring-propelled guns are also prohibited.
Those who have a permit to carry a concealed firearm may not bring the firearm on campus or to University sponsored events held off campus. Only authorized law enforcement personnel may possess a firearm while on University property.
All University buildings are equipped with local "in-house" fire alarm systems. These systems alert the Department Communications Center.
If an alarm is sounded in a building, people in that building must vacate the building using the closest available exit. It is imperative that every person respond to a fire alarm and vacate a building in which an alarm is sounded. This procedure reflects both the law and common sense. Students who fail to vacate a building when a fire alarm is sounded will be subject to disciplinary action.
The following charges and penalties will automatically be invoked for students who fail to vacate a residence hall when an alarm is sounded:
First Offense – $50 penalty charge and referral to the Residence Life Office
Second Offense – $75 penalty charge and possible dismissal from campus residence
Tampering with fire extinguishers and other fire equipment or the sounding of false alarms is a serious threat to the safety of all and is strictly prohibited. Violations of this policy will result in serious disciplinary action by the University.
The following system of charges and penalties is automatically invoked against students who tamper with fire extinguishers.
First Offense – If an individual is deemed responsible:
$100 penalty and referral to Student Affairs Council
If a residence hall is deemed responsible:
$5 penalty charge per resident — minimum charge $25
Second Offense – If an individual is deemed responsible:
$100 penalty and dismissal from campus residence; notification forwarded to the Fire Chief
The purpose of the Wilkes University parking system is to expedite the efficient flow of traffic on the campus and to provide parking facilities for students, faculty, staff, and guests.
All Wilkes parking lots are regulated by specific locations designated for faculty/staff, commuters, residents, visitor, and disabled parking. All vehicles must be registered with the university to park on any campus lot. Parking permit regulations are in effect throughout the year during normal hours of business (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), to include semester breaks.
Parking permit are not required Monday through Friday, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and on weekends.
The Wilkes University parking system is a self-supporting service receiving no funds from the university budget or student fees. It is, therefore, necessary to apply a system of user service charges to all vehicles operated on university property. Income derived from the sale of parking permits and from the collection of monetary penalties assessed under the parking regulations is used for the administration, maintenance and improvement of parking facilities.
The university reserves the right to temporarily close all or part of any campus parking area for special events and/or maintenance. Amendments to the parking rules and regulations will be announced on Wilkes Today. Any such changes shall not be cause for appeal of illegal parking.
At no time will the employees of the Department of Public Safety be subject to verbal or physical abuse, including being threatened, cursed or assaulted in any fashion. Any such abuse will be reported to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action and may be subject to a criminal complaint being filed.
Public Safety Officers will be sensitive to the special needs of disabled persons and will make every effort to provide for parking and assistance. For more information on disabled parking, please call 570-408-4999.
Repeated violation(s) of University parking policy may result in revocation of the privilege to park on campus and referral to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.
Parking regulations are in effect year round, including semester breaks. These enforcement regulations apply to all persons who operate motor vehicles on Wilkes University property.
It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to read and fully understand the parking regulations. Professing ignorance of them will not be accepted as an excuse to alleviate fines assessed for violations.
The university reserves the right to change any parking regulation. Changes in the regulations will be announced through the campus e-mail system, website, and/or other appropriate media. All vehicles must be removed from lots/areas when designated as reserved for events before the posted time.
A parking permit is not a guarantee of a specific parking space. The driver is responsible for finding an authorized parking space and the lack of a space does not justify illegal parking.
Vehicles parked so as to obstruct roadways, hinder university operations, and/or damage property are subject to being towed at the owner's expense.
Vehicles without the proper permit, unlawfully parked in handicapped spaces without proper permit, revoked parking privileges, or parked in fire lanes are subject to immediate towing at the owner's expense.
Accidents: Accidents involving motor vehicles on campus should be reported without delay to the Department of Public Safety at 570-408-4999. Dial 911 if there are injuries.
Driving: Driving and parking of motor vehicles on university property is to be confined to areas designated for those purposes only.
Parking Meters: Wilkes University does not own or maintain meters on roadways adjacent to campus. It is the responsibility of owners to follow meter instructions. Under certain circumstances, city parking meters may be covered with special events bags. Only those with event parking permits are permitted to use these bagged meters.
Vehicles must park in designated parking locations. All lots have specific parking signage. Lot designations may also be found on the campus website (http://www.wilkes.edu/about-wilkes/campus/parking.aspx) and DPS publications.
Parking on the grass, sidewalks, crosswalks, service drives, or loading zones is prohibited.
Yellow curbs and loading zones are not parking spaces. The vehicle may be ticketed and towed if it is left unattended in these areas.
- Any area of roadway, including that area within a parking lot which is not specifically marked for parking, loading, or as a Fire Lane, is defined as a driveway. Parking in driveways is prohibited.
- The fact that other vehicles are parked improperly shall not constitute a defense for parking in violation of the regulations nor for parking outside of lines in an otherwise legal parking lot.
- The fact that a vehicle, including Wilkes University Service Vehicles, is parked in violation of any rule or regulation and does not receive a citation does not mean that the rule or regulation is no longer in effect.
- The absence of 'No Parking' signs does not mean that parking is allowed. Parking is not allowed along curbs in parking lots unless marked for parking. Parking is permitted only within marked stalls. Double parking is prohibited at all times.
- Activated flashers on an illegally parked vehicle do not exempt the vehicle from receiving a parking citation.
- A vehicle cannot be parked in any space specifically reserved by signage unless the proper permit is displayed. Reserved spaces are reserved 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This includes holidays and times when the University is not in full operation.
- Ralston Field Parking Lot: Vehicles displaying a valid Ralston Field parking permit may use the Ralston Field parking lot.
- Resident permits: The issuance of residential parking permits is determined by Student Affairs. An application may be submitted via the online form. The proper permit for lot assignment must be displayed at all times while parked on campus.
- Commuter permits: The issuance of commuter parking permits is determined by Student Affairs and Commuter Council leadership. Applications may be submitted via the online form. The proper permit for lot assignment must be displayed at all times while parked on campus.
- Permits must be properly displayed on rear view mirror of the vehicle. Exceptions must be approved by the Department of Public Safety in advance.
- Registered vehicles must display current permits only. The registrant is held responsible for any violation involving the registered vehicle when he/she is operating it or when another individual is using the vehicle.
- The registration of a vehicle in no way guarantees that a parking space convenient for the individual will be provided. The responsibility for finding a legal parking space rests with the motor vehicle operator. Inability to locate a legal parking space is not an acceptable excuse for violation of these regulations.
Fraudulent Vehicle Registration
Fraudulent registration includes but is not restricted to:
- Purchasing a permit in another person's name;
- Registering a vehicle which is to be used by and for a person not authorized such registration;
- Display or use of a Wilkes University parking permit on a vehicle other than the vehicle registered;
The fraudulent registration of a vehicle will be grounds for referral to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action. Parking permits are not transferable from one vehicle to another.
Move-In / Move-Out Week
During the period when students are moving in and out of residence halls at the beginning and end of each semester, vehicles may be permitted to stand in adjacent driveways for up to 30 minutes for loading purposes. Each such vehicle must be constantly attended by a person who can move it immediately in the event of an emergency. An unattended vehicle may be towed at the owner's expense. Public Safety Officers will be present to direct vehicles to the proper loading areas.
Individuals visiting campus during normal business hours (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) are required to obtain a daily visitor parking permit. Permits are not required after normal business hours or weekends. Driver's license and vehicle registration must be presented at the time of request.
Parking spaces are limited and issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
The use of visitor parking permits to circumvent campus parking permits is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action being taken against the offender.
Off campus metered parking is subject to city regulations.
Unauthorized Use of a Visitor Permit
- Faculty, staff, and students are not considered visitors.
- Altering a visitor permit constitutes fraudulent registration and the appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
- Misrepresentation of one's eligibility for permit or altering a visitor's permit is grounds for referral to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action. Vehicles parked on campus with an altered permit will be towed at the owner's expense.
Disabled Parking Regulations
Parking spaces designated for disabled parking are reserved for vehicles bearing a disabled permit on a 24-hour basis. A vehicle parked illegally in a space designated for disabled parking will be ticketed and towed without prior notice at the owner's expense.
- It is a violation to leave standing in a disabled parking space any vehicle not displaying a valid disabled permit.
- It is a violation for any person not qualifying for the rights and privileges extended to disabled persons to exercise or attempt to exercise such rights or privileges by the unauthorized use of a distinguishing license plate, removable hang tag or temporary removable hang tag; and to park or leave standing any vehicle so as to obstruct a curb ramp or curb cut for disabled persons.
Prohibited Use of Parking Lots
- Using campus parking facilities for any purpose other than for what they are intended, for mass distribution or posting of information in the form of flyers, or anything else put on vehicles parked on campus.
- Use of campus parking areas for any purpose other than normal academic or administrative activities (i.e. changing oil or performing similar maintenance work).
Officers of the Department of Public Safety are not authorized to accept payment of parking citations. Payment of parking citations must be made at Student Services. Student Services is located at 32 W. South St. (near the intersection of S. Franklin St.)
Appeals for citations may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
You may attach any pertinent documentation such as diagrams or photographs of the manner in which you were parked. Supplying fictitious statements or documentation for appeals will be grounds for referral to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.
The following are not considered valid reasons for filing a citation appeal:
- The lack of knowledge of the rules and regulations.
- The inability to locate available space in the correct zone, inability to find a legal space, or inability to park legally due to other vehicles parked illegally.
- Inclement weather conditions.
- Tardiness to class or an appointment.
- The use of emergency flashers to justify illegal parking.
- Permission to park given by anyone other than a Public Safety employee.
Citations appeals will only be reviewed for citations issued during the current or previous semester.
Appeals not approved by the parking coordinator may be addressed to the Chief of Public Safety for final disposition.
Safety Tips For Students, Faculty and Staff
- Carry your student ID at all times and cooperate with University officials asking you to identify yourself.
- Look around, with your head up and pay attention to your surroundings. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Do not invite unfamiliar individuals into campus facilities.
- Always lock your car and/or bicycle.
- When entering and exiting a secure campus facility, close the door behind you and make sure it is locked.
- When entering your building, don't let strangers in. If an individual pushes past you, contact Public Safety immediately. This activity, called "tailgating," can admit potentially dangerous individuals to the building. By preventing tailgating, you help protect everyone in your building.
- Never prop doors open. When you do so, you risk the security of everyone in your building.
- Never carry your Wilkes ID card on the same key ring as your room key. If you lose your Wilkes ID card, call Public Safety as soon as possible.
- Always lock your room or apartment door, even when you are home.
- Never open your door to anyone you don’t know.
- Keep windows locked when you are not home or sleeping.
- Keep emergency numbers stored in your cell phone as well as by the landline telephone and refrigerator.
- Know your neighbors. Choose someone to call in case of emergency.
- Always tell someone where you are going, who you are going with and when you plan to return.
- Travel with trusted friends. Watch out for each other and don’t let a group member wander off alone or with someone unknown.
- Stay in public view. Don’t let someone get you in a secluded location.
- When walking, stay in a well-lit area.
- Avoid traveling alone after dark.
- Do not bring large amounts of cash or valuables to campus and keep anything of value out of sight.
- Keep a record of your credit card numbers and contact numbers for the issuers. Record serial numbers from computers, laptops, printers, televisions and other valuables.
- Do not leave computers, iPods, textbooks and other valuables in public areas such as study rooms while you take breaks or use the restrooms.
- Do not leave a note on your door listing when you will be there.
Social Setting Safety Tips
- Be cautious of beverages served from punch bowls. Open your drinks yourself. Never share drinks or leave your beverage unattended. If you lose sight of your drink, discard it.
- Clearly communicate your boundaries. If you are not interested in spending time with someone or engaging in sexual activity, express your feelings. If someone ignores your boundaries, be assertive and focus on getting away.
- Be respectful. If a person is not interested in spending time with you, do not pursue the situation. If you are uncertain whether someone wants to engage in sexual activity, then you should stop and ask her/him how s/he feels before proceeding further. Do not make assumptions and take silence as a “yes.”
- Be aware that alcohol consumption decreases awareness. It is best to stay lucid so that you can react and respond to potential threats or people.
- Program emergency contacts into your cell phone on speed dial. Then if you are in ever a compromising situation, you can discreetly place a call.
- If an incident occurs, get assistance immediately.
- Do not engage in or allow anyone in your presence to engage in sexual behavior with a highly intoxicated, high or unconscious individual. If you believe that a person is unable to give consent at that time, or that they are being coerced into a sexual act, request that the activity cease. If the situation persists, contact the police.
- Be sure that at least one person is identified as the designated driver.
- If at any point, you or a friend feels disoriented or unusually intoxicated for what you have consumed, leave the bar or party immediately. Get medical help if necessary.