Charged with enforcing Pennsylvania crime and vehicle codes and University policies, the Bloomsburg University Safety and Police Department consists of 32 employees, 18 of which are commissioned police officers. The department is responsible for the safety of more than 9,500 students, as well as faculty, staff and visitors on the 282-acre campus located in Columbia County, Pa.
When Joe Wondolowski, assistant director for the University’s Safety and Police Department, came on board in 2010, the Department was already using MetroAlert’s Records Management System (RMS) to manage parking tickets and handle general incident reporting.
The University uses a split parking management system to manage its average of 350-500 parking tickets written per week. The University has a large number of non-student parking violators and the existing system, which was geared toward students, was not meeting all of the department’s needs. Bloomsburg needed a tool that could also track and fine non-students and turned to MetroAlert to fill this need.
Currently, when a parking ticket is written, it is turned in to Department clerks. The clerks run the vehicle’s registration with PennDOT and enter the details into the MetroAlert parking module, where the ticket can be tracked. The parking module enables the Department to run audit reports, which are scheduled every 10 days, to send out notices and invoices, and to track the parking tickets and the associated payments from non-student violators.
“We track a wide range of incidents in Visual Alert, from underage drinking, traffic violations and accident reports to general and criminal investigations — essentially anything we would create a report for that would come through a police department,” explained officer Wondolowski.
“The beauty of the system is that it tracks incidents from the initial complaint, to how it was reviewed by supervisors, to the final deposition on it,” he said. “It has helped greatly in the reduction of paper and provided us with an all-in-one solution to process complaints and search warrants and all the other things that are necessary with police work. Visual Alert has given us a method of managing our processes and is the best option for the money.”
In addition to Uniform Crime Reports (UCRs), universities have unique reporting requirements related to the Jean Cleary Act. Officer Wondolowski explained, “We use the statistical analysis end of Visual Alert to comply with this federal law that requires us to accurately document, submit and publish statistical reports each year for the Higher Education Safety Report.”
“We had Visual Alert 1 and recently moved to Visual Alert 2,” said officer Wondolowski. “The enhancements — such as being able to attach media and the addition of more drop-down boxes — makes it even easier for new officers to navigate and maneuver.”
Officer Wondolowski also noted his satisfaction with the customer support at MetroAlert, stating that when there have been minor issues or questions, they have called MetroAlert and through remote access, the MetroAlert team has been able to view their computer screens and resolve any challenges quickly.