Letter to the Editor: Night in the life of Lower Merion police


Letter to the Editor: Night in the life of Lower Merion police

Matt McCarry Student Body President

I firmly believe that if my administration truly wants to create a better environment on campus we must also engage with local officials off campus that students interact with on a regular basis. One of the biggest sources of tension off campus can be with local police. 

On Friday, Sep. 29 from 8 p.m.-2 a.m., Pat Monagle, my Chief of Staff, and I participated in a ride along with two officers from the Lower Merion Police Department. We wanted to see how police officers and students interacted with each other, but this time hear from the police officers themselves.

Villanova is located in Radnor Township, but many students live off campus in Lower Merion and student favorites like Kelly’s are under Lower Merion jurisdiction. Pat and I each rode with different officers and patrolled different parts of Lower Merion near Villanova. A brief summary of the night: We loved it. Both of our officers were more than happy to have us join them during part of their shift and they were more than willing to answer any and all questions we had for them. What did we learn? 

They know and understand that college students do not have the same schedules as full-time residents of the local community. They do not like arresting or harassing students. An increased presence of police officers on the Main Line is intended to deter, not intimidate students who may be inclined to cause trouble in the local neighborhood.The department has experienced fewer issues with students since the closure of Maloney’s and Erin Pub.They believe only a small number of students cause the vast majority of problems off campus.

We asked the officers if they had any criticisms or suggestions for the Villanova community and they said: The school has done a very good job at establishing friendly relations with their department. Students should do everything possible to avoid public intoxication by splitting Uber rides—even for short distances. Students should reach out to their neighbors as soon as they move in and provide contact information so residents can call them first rather than the police. As Villanova students, we should want to create a sense of community wherever we go and living off campus is a great place to start. The police do not patrol for loud parties, they must respond to a call though.

We had a great time getting to know the officers during the night, and we strongly encourage our classmates to attempt to view the world from their perspective if they ever see them in the local neighborhood. The officers are professional, polite and funny and are more than open to talking with students if they have any questions.

If you would like to experience this from your own eyes please contact your respective student government official or the Office of Student Involvement.