NewsLanc asked a retired ranking police officer to critique the performance of Franklin & Marshall private security force when they responded to a call from the residence of college president John Fry concerning alleged trespassers. Below is a list of their reckless unprofessionalism:
1. Unsafe response – should have been Code 1 or Code 2, certainly not Code 3 (lights, siren, screeching tires – endangers other citizens and officers).
2. Over response – just a trespass – Six officers? Two should have been enough (even one) – and could have called more if needed for back up. With six officers on seen, who was protecting the rest of the campus/people?
3. If situation was "hot" – first on-scene officer should have gone to the house to protect victims and ascertain their safety well-being, then make arrest. Officers always protect the victims first – good police work will catch the perpetrators later.
4. Hart Nibbrig should never have been arrested (handcuffed, transported to F&M Security). At best, he should have been stopped, identity ascertained, and released on scene.
5. Harper's camera should not have been ordered to be turned off – would the F&M cops order Tom Brokaw's cameraman to turn off his camera?
6. Even if Harper did provoke the cops, that is no reason to escalate. Public Service Officers (PSO) (private police) should be trained professionals and can handle provocation without overreaction.
7. NewsLanc questions whether this was a legal arrest (may be no authority to arrest under current state private police law).
8. NewsLanc questions that this was a legal arrest because it was not on campus and not protecting children/old person, which seem to be the limits set by the statute.
9. Ron Harper, Jr. should not have been manhandled. Even if he had resisted, he should have been charged with resisting arrest (misdemeanor, I think).
10. Ron Harper, Jr. should not have been injured. Too many officers there to allow him to be injured. Even if he were a loud mouth (which the video shows was not the case), it is no reason to shove him or allow him to be hurt. The officers are there to protect everyone – victims and perpetrators. It was a failure that Harper was hurt.
11. Ron Harper, Jr. should not have been patted down/searched 3 times. One touch of the genitals is enough. If there wasn't a weapon there the first time, it would not be there the second or third time.
12. Improper charges filed by F&M on citations (proves their incompetence and they don’t know proper police procedures – questions their training).
13. Fry should have ordered suspension of Sergeant on scene (minimum). (I'd have fired him.) Full investigation should have been announced and be ongoing – if not completed by now.
14. No reason for Ron Harper, Jr. and Christiaan A. Hart Nibbrig to be held for two hours for processing. This is an excessive amount of time to get basic information. (Hart Nibbrig should never have been arrested, detained, transported…remember F&M could not explain why he was arrested – this is likely a false arrest.)
15. Treatment by Public Service Officers seem to be inflicting humiliation rather than fair, impartial treatment. (Can PSOs – who are not civil servants – be fair and impartial, or must they always be on the side of the college?)
16. Ron Harper, Jr. probably should not have been transported. A citation for Disorderly Conduct could have been issued at the scene. A summons for Defiant Trespass should have been filed.
17. Is holding cell approved/authorized?
18. F&M believes it can grab anyone and throw them in their holding cell for any reason and issue Defiant Trespass letter to justify their arrest.
19. Sunday News/Gil Smart had it wrong: defiant trespass is misdemeanor 1 and not summary offense as reported.