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FAQ—Frequently Asked Questions

1.    When should I call 911 and when should I use 771-2345?
911 should be used for an emergency or if the crime has just occurred. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or ambulance. Examples include: A fire, a crime, especially if in progress, a car crash, especially if someone is injured, a medical emergency, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

609-771-2345 should be used in non-emergency situations. Example: if you’re a victim of a theft, and there is no immediate suspect present.

609-771-2345 should also be used for all other police services.

2.    What do I do if I observe something that I think is illegal or wrong on campus?
First go to a safe place and then call Campus Police. The dispatcher will ask where your location is. Be ready to tell the dispatcher that first. Also, get as much descriptive information as you can; sex, race, clothing, if you hear any names being said, any other information, etc.

Please be as descriptive as possible regarding the illegal activity. If you feel concerned for your safety, you can tell us anonymously. Also, if the assistance of Campus Police is not needed immediately, our website has forms that can be used to submit the above information as well. An officer may need to contact you to gain more information. Please leave a phone number where you can best be reached, like your cell number.

a.    What are signs of ‘suspicious behavior’ on a college campus?
Suspicious behavior can be described as anything that may give you a bad “gut” feeling. Trust your feelings and call us.
If you see someone unfamiliar, who doesn’t live on your floor and is not wearing TCNJ clothing or ID, call Campus Police. Be ready to tell the dispatcher your location first, so that an officer can be dispatched there.

If you see people walking around in buildings late at night or odd times of the day, who are looking around and acting nervously, call campus police immediately. They could be lost and/or confused if they are a visitor on campus but they could also be searching for an accessible item to steal.

Call Campus Police immediately if you see suspicious boxes, envelopes or containers that have no labels and are not normally in that area. Also, if you see suspicious unmarked vans or trucks near buildings, call Campus Police immediately. Check out the rest of our website and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness website for more tips.

b.    What should I do if I suspect another college student is dangerous?
If you feel that there is imminent danger, go to a safe place and call Campus Police. Get as much descriptive information as you can; their name, location, sex, race, clothing, etc. Also, explain in detail why you suspect that another student or non-student is dangerous.

Campus Police will be dispatched to assess the person of interest. If the officer deems that the person is harmful to themselves and/or to others, the officer will dispatch EMS to transport them to a Crisis Center for further medical evaluation.

If their actions are questionable but they do not need immediate care for their safety or the safety of others, Campus Police will ask for assistance from other trained officials. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is in Eickhoff Hall Room 107. If the student is a resident on campus, Campus Police will request Residence Education and Housing’s Area and Residence Directors (AD’s and RD’s) to assist us. The AD’s and RD’s are trained in assessing these situations. Also, if the incident is after normal business hours, CAPS has a member on call to assist as well.

In cases where there is no imminent threat, but a person’s patterns of behavior are disturbing and may be indicators of more serious problems, you should contact the Behavior and Assessment Response Team (BART). BART is a team on campus that addresses issues with suspected dangerous students. For more information, see Student of Concern.

3.    What can I do to keep myself safe on campus?
First, be aware of your surroundings. Stay in well-lit and populated areas. You can call Campus Police for escorts whenever you feel unsafe. Keep your residence doors and windows locked when you are sleeping, or while by yourself, or when you leave your room. Also, do not leave your property unattended in any location around campus, including the library. If you are studying and want a coffee, pick up your belongings and then leave. It’s a good idea to study with a friend so you can leave your items with them. Most thefts reported to us are crimes of opportunity, and occur due to unattended or unsecured property. Take away the opportunity by securing your property.

When traveling, keep your cell phone fully charged and on. If you see suspicious activity, please pull over to a safe location and call Campus Police.

Be proactive and call Campus Police when you see suspicious activity on campus. The more eyes watching for suspicious activity, the easier it is to prevent crime. It is a good idea to store phone numbers for our department and your local municipal police department in your cell phone.

4.    If I am under 21 and get caught for Underage Possession of Alcohol, what will happen to me?

First, Campus Police and TCNJ EMS will be dispatched to assess your health. Depending on your alcohol consumption, you may need to be transported to a hospital for further medical evaluation. If you are not transported, and depending on the circumstances, Residence Education and Housing may require you to leave campus for the evening. After your health is evaluated, the officer will investigate the incident.

If the officer observes you in violation of NJSA 2C:33-15, Possession or Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages in Public by Persons Under the Legal Age to do so, you most likely will be issued a summons for the violation. If you are transported, a summons will be mailed via USPS Certified Mail to your home address.

There are exceptions to the summons requirement. See “911 Lifeline Legislation” information.

The summons, sometimes referred to as a “B” Summons, is an official notice for you to appear in court. The summons states that the officer reported that s/he observed you committing this violation. If you receive a summons, you must appear in court on the court date. If you do not, there will be a warrant issued for your arrest. TCNJ Campus Police uses Ewing Township Municipal Court for all traffic and non-indictable criminal violations.

Once you appear in court, you will have a chance to tell your side of the incident to the Judge and Prosecutor. The Judge and Prosecutor do not work for any police agency and are an impartial and unbiased 3rd party. During this first appearance, you will be given the chance to plead not guilty or guilty to the violation. The court will then schedule a date for the case to start.

If you have witnesses or evidence, please alert the court ahead of time and subpoena them to court on the court date.

As law enforcement officers, we cannot give you legal advice. We can guide you in the above events but cannot advise you how to plead.

5.    Parking

a.    I was issued a parking ticket. What should I do?

There are instructions printed on the back of the ticket for you to follow, specific to the jurisdiction the ticket was issued in.  You’ll need to follow those instructions.

i.    Do I have to pay it and if so how do I take care of it?
You may pay campus parking tickets at Student services located at 119 Green Hall. Municipal tickets may be paid at Ewing Municipal Court.

ii.    Can I appeal it?
Yes, if you feel the ticket was not appropriately issued to you, you may appeal the ticket. Instructions for TCNJ Campus issued parking ticket appeals can be found on the parking website. Campus appeals forms are also available at 119 Green Hall or TCNJ Campus Police Services, located at the Administrative Services Building. Please Note: Municipal tickets must be appealed through Ewing Municipal Court.

b.    Where do I get a parking permit?
Parking permits for Staff, Faculty and Students are available at Student Services, 119 Green Hall.

c.    I’m a guest on campus, where should I park?
Guest parking passes are available at the Information booth located in front of Loser Hall, TCNJ Campus Police Services located at Administrative Services Building and at Student Services located at 119 Green Hall..

d.     Do I Need a Pass?
Yes, parking on campus is by permit only

6.    Loading Passes

a.    What is a loading pass?
Loading pass allows you to load or unload items within close proximity to your building or area.

b.    When do I need a loading pass?
Loading passes are intended for times when you have large bulky items that would be inconvenient to carry from your parking area. For example, a new television for your room would be an appropriate reason for a loading pass.

c.    How do I get a loading pass?
Loading passes are available 24 hours a day from TCNJ Campus Police Services located at Administrative Services Building and 8 am to 4pm at Student Services located at 119.

Additional Parking Information is available at the TCNJ parking webpage.

7.    Is there a safety escort service during evening hours?
Yes. We offer walking escorts for safety purposes 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Although there are times that officers may offer a ride to an on-campus location, the typical escort is a walking escort.  Due to safety and liability reasons, we cannot offer rides to the general public or escorts to private residences off campus.

If you are off-campus and need an escort due to the fact you fear for your safety, we will assist you by calling the municipal police and advising them. In the meantime, if we have an officer present, we will send one to your location to wait with you until the municipal officer can assist.

8.    My car battery is dead. Can campus police give me a jump start?
Campus Police has two (2) self-contained battery jump boxes that can be signed out 24hrs a day, 7 days a week at our Police Department. A valid driver’s license will need to be left with the dispatcher to guarantee the return of the equipment. When you return the jump box to us, your license will be given back to you. Unfortunately, we cannot deliver the jump boxes to disabled vehicles because patrol officers have many other responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. We ask that you come to ASB to pick up the jump box when you need it.

9.    Unlocking Doors

a.    Will campus police help me if I am locked out of my car?
If you have a 3rd party Roadside Assistance Program, we strongly advise you to use that first. They are highly trained in opening vehicle doors. Campus Police Officers do not have the same tools and formal training, but possess a “Slim Jim” for emergency circumstances. If you do not have roadside assistance, we will require a “Release from Liability” form to be completed before we authorize an officer to attempt to use the Slim Jim.

Many vehicle insurance companies provide roadside assistance for free or for a minimal fee. Check to see if that is available through your insurance plan. This will also prove to be helpful off campus. Many municipal police departments have moved away from providing this service due to liability concerns.

b.    Will campus police help me if I am locked out of my room?
If you are locked out of your resident room on campus, please call your hall office first to sign out a spare key. Even if the office is closed, the phones are transferred to an after-hours contact person. They will help you. If you are locked out of the building or townhouse unit, Campus Police will assist you in gaining entry to the building for your safety but are not required to give you access to your room. If there are exigent circumstances, i.e. medical issues or prescriptions inside the room, we will assist.

If the locking mechanism to your room is broken or not operating correctly, please contact your hall office or Community Advisor. The professional staff on duty from Residence Education and Housing will call Campus Police with an Emergency Lock Change Request and Campus Police will call a locksmith from Access Control to assist.

c.    I’m an instructor and need to get into the building/classroom, can you unlock the doors?
During normal business hours, please call Building Services or see your Academic Department for assistance.

After business hours, we will assist when we have officers available. The Campus Police keys are for emergency use only.

If you have not been issued a key for your building and or classroom, please see your department chair as soon as possible. Access Control will need to have proper paperwork completed before issuing a key to buildings and classrooms.

d.    What do I do if I am locked out of my office?
During normal business hours, please call Building Services or see your Department for assistance.
After business hours, we will assist when we have officers available. The Campus Police keys are for emergency use only. If the call is not an emergency, we may not be able to provide the assistance.

 

10.  What do I do if I have a lost or found item?
Check the area where you believe you may have lost the item. Additionally, check with Brower Student Center Information Desk, lost property is sometimes turned into them.  Check with TCNJ Campus Police Services by calling 609-771-2345.

a.    How do I report lost property?
By calling TCNJ Campus Police Services at 609-771-2345.

b.    How do I recover found property?
Come to TCNJ Campus Police Services Located at the Administrative
Services Building.

c.    Where are the Lost and Founds located?
Brower Student Center Information Desk and TCNJ Campus Police Services Dispatch window located at the Administrative Services Building.

11.  Does TCNJ have actual sworn and armed police officers, or are they security guards?
The College employs both sworn and armed police officers and unsworn, unarmed security officers. Police officers are fully trained, commissioned, and armed in accordance with the state laws under which they are appointed. They have all powers of police and constables in criminal cases and offenses against the law throughout the state of New Jersey. Security officers receive basic training in crime prevention and first aid, and serve as “eyes and ears” for the department. They are used primarily in the residence facilities and for security escorts.

12.  What is the procedure for traffic stops?
When an officer observes a traffic or law violation, he or she will conduct a motor vehicle stop to investigate. The most important thing in any officer’s mind is safety. This includes your safety, the officer’s safety, and the safety of other people around. The officer may have to wait for a safe location to initiate the traffic stop or wait for a backup officer to assist, depending on the severity of the violation.

The officer will activate the overhead lights on the patrol vehicle. At this time, please pull over safely, roll down the vehicle’s front windows, and during nighttime hours, turn on the vehicle’s interior lights.

a.    What should I expect if I am stopped?
It is important to realize that the officer will expect you to stop the vehicle as soon as you safely can. The officer is required to be and will be courteous and polite, and will ask you a few questions during the stop.

The officer will state their name, the department where they work, and ask for your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and proof of registration. After the officer has your credentials, he will explain the reason for the stop. For your safety, please stay in the vehicle at all times. Depending on the time of day and the location, traffic can be busy and the safest place is in your car. The officer is trained on how to conduct a safe motor vehicle stop and how to safely be out of the patrol vehicle.

If you cannot find a requested document before the officer goes back to his vehicle and then find the document, please hold it out of your driver side door window. The officer or back up officer will come and retrieve it from you.

b.    What should I do if I am stopped?
Be calm and if it is at night, illuminate your vehicle interior with your dome light. Refer to your constitutional rights for further information. Just as we require our officers to be courteous, we ask for you to be polite and courteous also.
Remember, you have to answer pertinent information but do not have to incriminate yourself. It is best to be honest in answering questions, as deliberately giving false information to the officer can result in more summonses being issued.

c.    Why are there two police cars at a traffic stop?
Often you will see two police cars at a traffic stop. The first officer, or primary officer, is there to investigate the violation. The second officer, or backup/secondary officer, is there for assistance and for safety. The second officer may assist with traffic control, answer questions that the driver or the primary officer may have, or may observe the occupants of the stopped vehicle to provide for officer safety. This assists the primary officer and allows that officer to concentrate on the investigation and radio communication with the police dispatcher. It is important to remember that although you may know that you and the occupants are not dangerous, officers making traffic stops are required to take appropriate precautions on every traffic stop.

13.  Bicycles on campus

a.    What are the rules, regulations and safety guidelines concerning bicycle riding and parking of bicycles?
Many bicycle-related crashes resulting in injury or death are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, including such things as not wearing a bicycle helmet, riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming from behind, running a stop sign, and riding the wrong way in traffic. Although many bicycle deaths result from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions, injuries can happen anywhere, including parks, bike paths and driveways, and often do not involve motor vehicles.

To maximize your safety, always wear a helmet and follow the rules of the road. Young people under the age of 17 are required to wear an approved helmet when cycling, roller skating, in-line skating, or skateboarding.

  • Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow – not against it.
  • Obey All Traffic Laws. A bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
  • Yield to Traffic When Appropriate. Almost always, drivers on a smaller road must yield (wait) for traffic on a major or larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding.  Yield to pedestrians who have already entered a crosswalk.
  • Be Predictable. Ride in a straight line, do not weave in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
  • Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes AND ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don’t wear a headset when you ride.
  • Look Before Turning. When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
  • Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening, or cars pulling out).
  • See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible. Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
  • Control Your Bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash. If you are riding with friends and you are in the lead, yell out and point to the hazard to alert the riders behind you.
  • Avoid Riding at Night When Possible. It is far more dangerous to ride at night than during the day because you are harder for others to see. If you have to ride at night, wear something that makes you more easily seen by others. Make sure you have reflectors on the front and rear of your bicycle (white lights on the front and red rear reflectors are required by law in many States), in addition to reflectors on your tires, so others can see you.
  • Wear a Helmet. Head injury is the most serious injury type and the most common cause of death among bicyclists. The most severe injuries are those to the brain that cause permanent damage.

b.    Is it safe to lock my bicycle outside while on campus?
Many people routinely pay upwards of a thousand dollars or more for a bike. Thieves know this and have figured out that stealing bikes and bike parts can be a lucrative business. College campuses are full of expensive bikes. To make matters worse, some students feel that because campus is a safe place they do not need to take precautions to secure their bikes. The combination of expensive bikes and a false sense of security make a college campus one of the first places a bike thief comes “shopping.” With a few precautions and some common sense, you can drastically decrease the chances of your bike being stolen. If you own a bicycle, use a sturdy, good quality U-lock. A cable or chain lock is very vulnerable and easily defeated. The U-lock is sold in most bicycle stores. Most bicycles that are stolen are bicycles that have been poorly secured with a poor quality lock and/or have been improperly secured.
Use a U-lock and follow these suggestions to keep your bicycle secure:

  • Always lock your bike, even if you are only running inside a building for a minute. Lock your bike. Thieves are watching and will take your bike if you leave it unlocked.
  • Always lock your bike to a provided bicycle rack. Do not use lamp posts, deck or stair railings, or other architectural features. Locking your bike to a rail may be a violation of the fire code and can endanger someone’s life.
  • When locking your bicycle, lock both wheels and the frame to the bicycle rack.
  • Leave as little space as possible inside the U-Lock to minimize the space for thieves to insert their tools.
  • Attach your lock with the key mechanism facing the ground.
  • Lock components and accessories. Do not leave accessories that can be removed.
  • Take your bike seat with you.
  • Lock your bike in a well-lit area.
  • Don’t lock your bike in the same area all the time. A thief may notice a pattern and target your bike.
  • Don’t lock your bike only to itself, that is, only lock the front wheel to the frame. It is easily carried away.
  • Don’t position your lock low to the ground. A thief can attack the lock easier and less obviously in that position.
  • Double check your lock before leaving your bike to make sure it’s secured.

 

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