January is National Stalking Awareness Month
By Nathan Pisano – Photo by Brad Bakke
There’s nothing innocent about stalking.
Stalking is a serious crime that can affect anyone, and the students and staff of Chemeketa are no exception.
“It sometimes creates a nightmare for the victim, in extreme cases,” Bill Kohlmeyer, the college’s director of Public Safety, said.
Kohlmeyer has been with Chemeketa for seven years. He was a Salem police office for 30 years.
“The incidence of stalking at Chemeketa are fairly rare,” he said. “It’s not that they don’t happen; sometimes we just don’t hear about them.”
Kohlmeyer said this was because Chemeketa is a community college with no dormitories, so stalking usually occurs away from campus and people don’t always speak up.
“We certainly want to know when there is a student or an employee being stalked,” he said.
“When we are notified, we take fairly aggressive action. We don’t make any arrests, but we can and often will make safety plans.”
Some measures included in these safety plans:
- Drive another car
- Switch parking places
- Escorts to and from cars and classes
- Change schedules
- Switch to online classes
Kohlmeyer said these safety plans can make a difference in keeping a stalking victim safe.
“We worked with a student over a year ago to do some online work as opposed to actually coming to campus because the person stalking her knew her schedule,” he said.
“We were able to work with instructors to give the student online work so she didn’t have to drop classes and be disadvantaged.”
Kohlmeyer also said that if you are aware of anyone who is being stalked, it is important to be a friend and to be supportive.
Victims often times do not know what to do, so it is vital to let them know that they are not alone and that people and resources are available at the college to help, he said.
“We want to make sure that the college is a safe place for everyone. So if someone is a victim of stalking, we want to know,” Kohlmeyer said.
If you or someone you know is being stalked, contact Chemeketa’s Public Safety Department at 503-399-5023.