Recently, a Mercer student’s vehicle was stolen and recovered by Macon Police.
However, the way the recovery was conducted has become a matter of considerable controversy over the past weeks.
Lynah Stone was taken to the site where her vehicle was recovered, and faced the suspects. Despite being accompanied by police officers, she said “I didn’t feel comfortable, you should never feel unsafe around a police officer…he made me feel like the suspect.” This conduct has motivated her mother to file a formal complaint with the Macon Police Department.
While the police upheld their duties, it is the methodology that is in question.
The Macon Police Department has made no formal press release or statement on the complaint on its repercussions.
Stone said that the complaint was filed “not out of vengeance” but that she does “not want any one to be put in that situation.”
The Mercer Police were the ones initially alerted to the situation, however, because the car could not be found on campus, they let Macon Police take over the search.
Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, stated to the Macon Telegraph that this was the first time a car had been stolen from a student in years.
Perhaps this inexperience contributed somewhat to the questionable handling of the situation. However, the novelty of this event is certainly something students can take comfort in.
Stone continually praised the Mercer Police, saying that one Mercer officer stood by her side and talked to her about the way the Macon officer in question had treated her.
Stone indicated that she did not expect any official apology and mostly wanted the situation to quiet down.
However, she said she does want the officer “to know that he chose wrong” although she is not looking for serious repercussions for him.
The overall reaction to this situation has been so fairly widespread because it is a violation of what is widely acknowledged as the “Mercer Bubble,” a term that has become popular as a way of denoting the sharp contrast between the atmosphere of Mercer and the atmosphere of the community immediately surrounding the University.
Students regularly express a desire to escape the “bubble” for a period of time, however, this is usually done in volunteering or shopping trips.
The idea of the “bubble” also denoted a certain insulation and tranquility, and to see that violated has caused considerable upset, even though the official safety level of the campus has not changed.
This has led to discussion of further safety protocols.
The general consensus is that Mercer Police do a great job of policing the campus, but the University’s proximity to questionable neighborhoods has led to some, including Stone, to suggest closing off an entrance or two.
However, Brumley said to the Telegraph, “We can’t become a fortress, but we do work diligently at making sure we have adequate patrols.”
However, even with the current level of security, when asked if she felt safe parking on or near campus now, Stone said “I do, we have great Mercer Police force here.”