Police Chief and Fire Inspector reach out at SGA meeting

Grutzer (left) and Pennelle (right) spoke at SGA this past Friday. Photo by Jack Fozard

Grutzer (left) and Pennelle (right) spoke at SGA this past Friday. Photo by Jack Fozard

Grutzer (left) and Pennelle (right) spoke at SGA this past Friday. Photo by Jack Fozard

Jack Fozard, Feature Writer

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Speaking at the latest SGA Senate meeting in the Kessel Student Center, Pleasantville Police Cheif Erik Grutzer and Mt.Pleasant Fire Inspector Sal Pennelle implored students to help them in their efforts to keep Pace, and Pleasantville as a result, safe and informed.

Grutzer, Police Chief for Pleasantville since late last year and an officer for 23 years , is a former graduate from Pace, and as such, the students and campus “mean a great deal to [him] personally.”

“On a personal level, when I took over about a year ago, one of the big things I wanted to address and improve was the culture of my own [town],” said Grutzer. “[Pace] is a tremendous university and a tremendous institution. That [reputation developed] gradually over time with people saying ‘you know what? We need to change the culture around here. We need to move away from [Pace as] a big party school to a serious institution’, which we’ve become.”

For Grutzer, who has lived and served in Pleasantville for over 20 years, the main focus is on communication between students, town residents and law enforcement more than anything.

“The relationship we build with the village and with all of you, and the experience you have is a very strong concern, not just for me and the police department, but for really everyone [in Pleasantville],” continued Grutzer. “We want people in town to want interaction between the village community and the college community…it has to be, and I think very easily can be, a very successful partnership.”

Following Grutzer, Sal Pennelle, Fire Inspector for Mt.Pleasant, a town of which both Pace and Pleasantville are a part of, took to the podium.

“I want to talk to you guys about fire safety,” Pennelle started. “The [concern] is what the students’ responsibilities are within the building when the fire alarm goes off in your dorm.”

Pennelle has been with the Building Department of Mt.Pleasant for fifteen years and has been a volunteer firefighter for four years.

“All the construction and the renovation at Kessel, the two dorm buildings that were built; It was a tremendous amount of work, of which I was a big part of,” recounted Pennelle. “What was satisfactory to me was… that these buildings were well-built and are very safe.”

Each building on campus has a fire plan, and RA’s have plans to make sure students get out in time. According to Pennelle, in the case that all else fails, evacuating the building however necessary is always a good call.

“The university has evacuation plans,” says Pennelle. “What you don’t want is; you don’t follow it and you find out when the fire department gets here that students are missing, we don’t know where they went- that’s not good. What the plan says, and how the RA’s are instructed to evacuate the building, and it’s not only the dorm buildings, [are important] but any building where that alarm goes off, you must make sure you’re evacuating.”

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