Posted March 22, 2011 Atlanta, GA
Some students might say that encounters with Georgia Tech police officers are not among their favorite memories of time spent at the Institute — but the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) are working on that.
Officers from both groups have met this semester to establish what, at this point, both parties call an informal partnership. The goal for IFC and GTPD is the same: to foster a mutually beneficial relationship that extends beyond arrests and citations.
“At some point fraternities stopped trusting a call to the police, and there was no rapport between our department and the fraternity men,” said Sergeant Ian Mayberry, who oversees the budding Greek liaison program. The police department has designated four officers to serve as liaisons, each assigned a group of fraternities with whom they will meet on a regular basis, get to know the members and serve as a resource. Mayberry said the next step is to set up a social event for the liaisons and fraternity presidents to get to know each other, giving them a chance to interact outside of prospective negative incidents.
GTPD plans to staff one or two liaisons per 12-hour patrol shift in order to handle incidents on a more personal level. Mayberry said it will benefit the police to know the fraternity presidents personally when they do have to knock on a house door and respond to a call.
“Often there’s not one point of contact in fraternities when something happens, and this is a way for the police to know who the president and executive members are and keep credibility in the houses,” said Shane Sandridge, president of IFC. “The biggest benefit for fraternities will be to have another person on their side. With the potential risks fraternities face, having police communication open and being able to use each other as a sounding board will let us better handle situations when they do arise.”
Director of Greek Affairs Tanner Marcantel said, “The program will serve strictly as a resource between the police and fraternities, and gives fraternities a point of contact if something happens.”
In the past, GTPD officers worked fraternity parties, but that stopped in the early 2000s; Captain Randy Barrone said that since then, the communication and relationship with fraternities has diminished. GTPD hopes to eventually extend the program to the female Greek population as well.