CHIEF CARL ROWAN JR. ANSWERS CONCERNING QUESTIONS ON CAMPUS CRIME AND SAFETY
By Sabrina Acerra, Staff Writer
Mason recently appointed Carl Rowan Jr. as the new Chief of Police and head of public safety.
“Law enforcement has been something that I have always loved,” said Rowan. “I always tell people that it is not a job – it is a calling. It is the idea of helping people, crime victims, and taking the bad people of the streets has always been big with me and here I am.”
Rowan started his career in law enforcement 45 years ago. His first position was with the U.S. Marshals in 1972, and he we went on to work as a supervisor in their legal counsel division.
“It has been an interesting career because I have been on both the government and private sector,” said Rowan. “After 9/11, I was asked to assist in some special projects involving law enforcement and the intelligence community.”
According to the latest Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, sexual assault reports on the Fairfax campus went up from 13 cases in 2015 to 20 last year – a 53.8 percent increase. Rowan said this statistic is actually a good sign, because it means students are reporting these crimes more than in the past.
“One of the things I think Mason does really well is get the word out to people on what their reporting options are,” said Rowan. “You could have a university the same size as Mason with fewer numbers, but that doesn’t mean that they are safer.”
Mason does have many options for students to report these offenses, including the Student Support and Advocacy Center, Title IX office, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, and of course 911 in an emergency.
“I think we are doing a good job at working with Title IX and the Student Support and Advocacy Center,” said Rowan, “if there is a complaint those cases get handled thoroughly and we are seeing a new willingness for students to come in and talk to us or Title IX and get the ball rolling.”
Mason Police are also investigating the case of a sophomore student who died in September after falling from the fifth floor of Piedmont resident hall.
“I can’t say much on the Tristan Medina case, it is still a very active investigation,” said Rowan. “If there is anybody we haven’t talked to that could assist in the investigation we would love to hear from them, but we have made a lot of headway. Hopefully we will be able to break some news some point in the near future.”
The Mason Police Department doesn’t shy away from allowing students to go behind the scenes. They are always looking for opportunities to have students tag along or even be trained in special skills to feel safe on campus.
“I would encourage any student who would like to do a ride-along to call us,” said Rowan. “We are happy to come out and do training for different student groups with Active Threat training or Rape Aggression Defense, anything like that. We are here to help keep people safe and if they know who we are that will help to improve the relationship a lot.”
Rowan describes himself as passionate and takes his job very seriously.
“Law enforcement has been something that I have always loved. I am thrilled that they pay me to do it because I would do it for free. I always tell people that it is not a job, it is a calling. It is the idea of helping people, crime victims, and taking the bad people of the streets has always been big with me and here I am.”
Photo Courtesy of Rubi Chavez