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MUPD Shares Thoughts on Last Week’s Assault Story

I would like to respond to the recent article in the February 15th edition of The Outlook entitled, “Student Beaten on Road Near Library. MUPD Fails to Alert Campus Community of Attack.” I would like to respond from the perspective of the Monmouth University Police department.

Although the jurisdiction of the incident was in West Long Branch, the initial call concerning a fight was placed to the University Police. The University Police immediately responded. They established control of the situation by locating the victim and witness. They further apprehended and detained two possible suspects prior to the arrival of the West Long Branch Police. MUPD Officers turned the matter over to the West Long Branch Police Officers because they have ultimate jurisdiction in this matter. Upon completing their initial investigation that evening, West Long Branch Police charged one of the individuals that MUPD turned over to them, with Simple Assault.

The article goes on to say that a witness reported to The Outlook that he was treated rudely by a Police dispatcher.  A review of the audio tapes of the incident indicated that the caller was treated professionally and was politely denied requested information as per normal police procedures. There was no mention to the police, by the caller, that he feared being recognized because the suspects saw his face, and also that he yelled at them, as the witness told Outlook reporters.

Most importantly, I would like to address the issue of not notifying the campus community. Notification of the campus community was carefully considered.   A determination was made that since it appeared to be an isolated incident, and since the subjects were apprehended that night, that it would serve no purpose.   A review of our records indicates that there have been no incidents of this type prior to, or since, this incident.

I would also like to say that Monmouth University has always been extremely proactive in doing everything possible to safeguard our campus community. This includes a professional, proactive, sworn, Police Department and a Police Dispatch Center that has the immediate ability to contact all members of the campus community in the event of an emergency. We have utilized our emergency communication system often, when a determination is made that there is an imminent threat to the campus. The Police also regularly train in Active Shooter situations, campus lockdowns, as well as all other forms of emergency management type situations that might occur on campus.

In closing, I would like to comment that Monmouth University is a safe campus in a safe area of New Jersey. I am glad to see students involved and concerned about incidents on and about campus. I have always felt that the only way that we can maintain a safe campus community is through the joint collaboration of the University Police and the campus community.  As always, if anyone has any concerns about the recent incident, or other safety concerns on campus, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

William McElrath

Chief, Monmouth University Police