The Department of Public Safety is pushing for changes, including pay raises, in its new contract with the university, after its previous three-year contract expired last Wednesday.

According to Vice President for University Safety David Morrell, the terms of the old contract will be extended until the new contract is signed. The implementation date for any new contract will be set retroactively to Feb. 1, the day after the old contract expired.

Morrell said that DPS Director Darryl Harrison is interested in pursuing a pay raise, in response to a number of officers leaving DPS for higher-paying positions elsewhere. DPS officers currently receive a starting salary of $12.50 per hour.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have people leaving for higher pay; it means you’re hiring good people,” Morrell said. “Enough officers have been leaving that [Harrison] wanted to get a salary raise to address the attrition level.”

According to Morrell, Harrison is also interested in improving training for DPS officers, especially after a fight that occurred outside the Reiss Science Building in September, leaving three DPS officers injured.

Harrison declined to comment on the negotiations.

Morrell said that negotiations took place on Friday but that he did not know if negotiators agreed on any conditions.

– Michele Hong

Metro Creates Special Police Unit After Robberies Rise

Prompted by a 6 percent rise in the number of robberies in the local Metro transit system last year, the Metro Transit Police Department announced Thursday a special unit specifically focusing on apprehending robbers.

Linda Foxwell, a spokesperson for the transit police, said that increased attention paid to robberies has resulted in the arrest of 21 suspects in less than two months since the unit’s inception in December. Robberies increased from 332 in 2005 to 354 in 2006.

Foxwell said she could not release details on the number of officers involved in the unit or the tactics it uses to prevent crime, but she said that officers often wear casual clothing.

The robbery unit also receives law enforcement tips from an officer who joined a regional robbery task force sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which Foxwell said has been an extremely useful tool in apprehending suspects.

Following the success of Metro’s new robbery unit, which analyzed crime trends to target specific locations, the unit will continue operation into 2007.

– Connie Parham

College Republicans Hold Take Back Georgetown Day

Georgetown’s College Republicans trumpeted the cause of conservative students and visitors at the second annual Take Back Georgetown Day Saturday in the Reiss Science Building.

Patrick Deneen, an associate professor of government at Georgetown and founding director of the Tocqueville Forum, an initiative which sponsors events on campus related to America’s founding principles, delivered the keynote address on the state of American education.

Attendees participated in various workshops on Internet and campus activism, and tax reform.

The event’s goal was to “educate, invigorate and focus the conservative students of Georgetown University,” according to the mission statement. TBGD’s Web site said that the disproportionate representation of liberal-leaning professors at Georgetown creates a “repressive environment” for non-liberal students.

JD Allman (COL ’09), GUCR’s director of external affairs, said that the event was an open discussion of Georgetown’s political makeup. Holding a second TBGD event did not “imply a success or failure” of the first, Allman said, but was intended to serve as a continuation of the debate started last year.

– Connie Parham

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