Following Resignations, Local Police to Take Over Security at Ohio College

SPRINGFIELD - The city's police department will provide security for Clark State Community College after the school's police chief, sergeant and seven part-time officers resigned.

Clark State's police chief Lynnette Rodriguez submitted her resignation two weeks ago to take a position at Wittenberg University, beginning Monday, said Jennifer Deitsch, Clark State spokeswoman. The police sergeant and part-time officers also gave written notices at various times within the past two weeks.

Rodriguez, who had been with Clark State for 13 years, said she left for personal reasons independent of her colleagues' decisions.

"People that left before or after me did that on their own," she said. "I did not orchestrate anyone to follow me."

It's unclear why the others resigned.

The Leffel Lane campus became part of the city police department's jurisdiction after it was annexed this spring, said Springfield Police Chief Stephen Moody. City police will patrol both campuses and respond for service.

"We've also spoken with the administration about working events, say at the Kuss Center or Turner Studio," Moody said. That service, along with athletic events, would be handled by off-duty officers such as those who patrol the summer arts festival.

College police records show only a handful of minor incidents at either campus over the past two years, consisting mostly of suspicious vehicles, suspicious activities and personal property damage. The college reported no serious crimes, such as robberies or assaults, during that period.

"It's a safe campus and we don't anticipate that will change," Deitsch said.

Student Amber Hunt, of North Lewisburg, said she was a little concerned about the lack of on-site officers.

"If something happens it will take the police a little longer to get on site," she said as she walked to her car after class.

Ali Midgley of Springfield said she felt safe enough on the Leffel Lane campus because of its out-of-the-way location.

"I'd be more concerned if I had to come downtown (to the South Limestone Street campus) at night," she said.

Rodriguez was named an officer in 1994 and chief in 2004. Prior to that, security was provided by students in the college's law enforcement program, Deitsch said.

"This gives us the opportunity to reassess, seek different solutions," she said.


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