Police hitting the streets in Fanshawe area

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

While the London Police Service is not made out of satellite police stations, it may have found an acceptable alternative.

At a Police Services Board meeting Monday night, London Police Chief Murray Faulkner announced London Police would be bringing its mobile command unit to the Fanshawe College area more frequently.

Ward Three councillor Bernie MacDonald has been fighting for some time to have a satellite police station set up near Fanshawe to combat what he sees as a problem with students.

“I wasn’t getting anywhere with the satellite police station,” MacDonald said. “[Faulkner and I] didn’t agree, but I think Chief Faulkner is doing an excellent job ... he had his way of looking at the issue and I had mine.”

“We’ve compromised,” Faulkner said during Monday’s meeting. “Instead of bricks and mortar, we’re going to have a van.”

“We’ve tested it and I’ve seen how it worked,” MacDonald said. “[The unit] can leave on Sunday and return the next weekend.

“Next year when the students come in and the unit is in place, I think we could curtail the whole [problem,]” MacDonald added.

But the alleged need for a heavier police presence around Fanshawe has not been well received by the college.

Fanshawe President Howard Rundle has claimed Fanshawe’s poor reputation is unfair. Emily Marcoccia, media spokesperson for Fanshawe College, agrees with Rundle’s assessment.

“Unfortunately we’re the only college in town and we’re in a town with a lot of media, several of whom are graduates of the college and know us and our students well,” Marcoccia said. “I think we’ve experienced a few students who have misrepresented the college and are not representative of the whole student population.

“Eighty per cent of our graduates turn around and live or work in the community " even the ones who are from out of town,” Marcoccia added.

The last stabbing incident brought negative attention on Fanshawe even though students were not involved, Marcoccia said.

“Neither the alleged accused or the victims were Fanshawe students " yet the major headlines said ‘Fanshawe College.’ We don’t condone the actions of either Fanshawe students or non-Fanshawe students who are behaving poorly.”

Marcoccia stressed the need for understanding.

“The economic substance of this town is based around what our students do.”

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