On May 25, 2014, an incident at the Inn at DePauw stopped students’ schedules and halted any guests’ plans.
“An employee was approached by a man she did not know in an isolated area,” said Angela Nally, Director of Public Safety at DePauw.
He attempted to assault her, heard a noise, and it is believed he became concerned that someone was coming and cut the employee with a small knife he possessed. He took several personal items from her purse, including a cell phone, and left.
Public Safety was called. Greencastle City Police and the sheriff’s office also responded.
“We had to do a room-by-room, floor-by-floor search,” said Nally.
The suspect was apprehended within about an hour of Public Safety receiving the call. He was found near Indiana and Hanna Street.
“She didn’t suffer any life-threatening injuries,” said Nally. “It was really quite a concerning situation, and we were grateful for the support of our other law enforcement agencies. This was a major emergency.”
This was a unique instance; however, Public Safety normally deals with smaller crimes and student safety. “We do emergency preparedness exercises,” said Nally. They practice for situations like this, shooters, thefts, and other such situations.
Public Safety sent out alerts to students to stay where they were and to avoid The Inn at DePauw. They informed the guests that there was a dangerous situation and that they needed to stay in their rooms until it was resolved.
“Everyone was cooperative and understood that we had some things that we needed to get done,” said Nally. “The thing that we want to do is encourage students to prioritize their personal safety [in situations like that].”
Public Safety generally sends out one of two messages to students during emergencies: either stay where they are (“sheltering”) or evacuate an area. This case would have sent a warning to shelter.
“This situation would have been much different during the school year,” said Nally, stating that the entire school would have gone on lock down.
Sometimes, people want to go to the problem out of curiosity, but that is dangerous. Public Safety encourages students to be aware of such possibilities. Nally urges students to heed Public Safety’s warnings and avoid the location of a potentially dangerous situation.
Tyler Murphy contributed to this article.