With the departure of Yale Police Chief James Perrotti, students will have to get used to a new name in their inboxes.
“I hope Perrotti schools the new police chief about how to write informative e-mails to the Yale community,” Andy Shumaker ’10 joked.
As Yale’s top cop, who for the last 12 years wrote e-mails to Yalies when someone was robbed or stabbed, prepares to leave in June, most of more than 30 graduate and undergraduate students interviewed Sunday said the Yale Police Department under Perrotti’s leadership has made them feel secure. But about half a dozen students had a range of complaints about the department, from too much attention to jaywalking to too few e-mails concerning off-campus crimes.
In fact, these e-mails have likely been the only real contact with the Yale police for many students. Students said the messages have proven to be both comforting and alarming, letting them know the police are on the case but also reminding them that crimes are regular occurrences on campus.
And several graduate students, including Italian literature doctoral candidate Griffin Oleynick GRD ’14, said the police do not report enough of the serious crimes committed on the outskirts of the campus, areas where many graduate students live.
Perrotti said in a recent interview that he determines whether to send an e-mail based on the location and nature of the crime. For example, if an assailant and a victim know each other and neither is affiliated with Yale, even if the crime happened one block from campus, he may not send out an e-mail because there is a very low threat to students.
Nonetheless, most of the students said they felt well informed about on-campus crime. Alexis Wise ’13 said that though the e-mails are the butt of many students’ jokes, they do provide a sense of security.
“They really do show that they care about our safety,” she said. “It reminds you that there is a world outside the Yale bubble.”
Yet Tao Gao GRD ’12 had a simpler way to measure Perrotti’s performance.
“I never got robbed,” Gao said, and therefore he thought Perrotti had done a good job.
Perrotti is the second Yale security official to retire in the last few months. The director of Yale Security, an unarmed force that assists the YPD, retired at the end of last year as part of its restructuring, and former New Haven Police Chief Francisco Ortiz has taken over the operations.
University President Richard Levin said news about the next chief will be forthcoming.