Rocco DelMonaco, Jr replaced Dave Morrell as Vice President for University Safety in June. DelMonaco will be responsible for the strategy, planning and execution of all safety and security functions at all Georgetown campuses and overseas locations. The Voice sat down with DelMonaco for an exclusive interview.
Over the summer, students were mugged at gunpoint outside of Lauinger while many high school students were on campus for the summer. Is there any extra security during the summer when so many students who are not used to living in the city are around?
I think probably what needs to take place is even more education when these folks arrive on campus. When people come here, they look at the map, they see that it’s in Northwest, they see multimillion dollar homes. City folks know better. I do not know if more education would have prevented what happened that night. Crime does happen, but I do know that the work that MPD did and that our folks at DPS did, did result in the arrest of five individuals, five juveniles that are going to be charged as adults.
I noticed on the press release that you worked for the Secret Service for many years. How do you plan to use that experience here at Georgetown?
I was a police officer for about five and a half years before I was a Secret Service agent … so that combination probably will help me in my new endeavor here. In the Secret Service we protected servants and assets, the same as here. Friends say, ‘Why’d you take this job?’ The two big reasons are, number one, it’s Georgetown, admittedly … The second big reason is, I didn’t have to sell folks on [increasing security].
DC’s long-held gun ban looks like it may be overturned. How would this affect the Georgetown community?
I think the safe way to go down that path is that you have to see what’s going to happen … the way things are in the current law, there’s not going to be any changes in anything. The University has to revisit these things in the context that they happen … There are universities all across the country that have struggled with this. In lieu [sic] of what’s happened, they want to have their weapons on campus. That’s a struggle, or debate, I should say, that’s going to go on all over the country, and it might touch here. What I’ve found in the very short time that I’ve been here is that Georgetown seems to be more like a community than like a university in a community. Some of the factors that have happened in recent tragedies probably would not have occurred here.
Do you think that any students have guns on campus?
No, I don’t.
Do you think that DPS would know it if they did?
I think they would.
A student who was banned from campus, Winston Weatherspoon, lived in Henle last summer without DPS’ knowledge. What plans does DPS have for preventing future incidents involving banned students?
DPS already has a fairly well-conceived system of how they keep track of folks, including folks who are banned from campus. It’s community police in any way you look at it. These folks who are DPS officers, every day when they go to work they have meetings. They have photos, names, all that information. About 95 percent of the time that someone’s barred from campus they usually comply with it. That works to our advantage.
I know that there has been some controversy about the Second District expanding to include parts of Dupont Circle and other neighborhoods. Do you think that this will have an impact on Georgetown’s security situation?
We have a force with our own eyes and ears in the neighborhood. The neighbors themselves probably have a little more concern…it’s probably not going to affect us.