Campus security testing out new wheels for patrols


Halton Regional Police are looking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect they believe might be involved in two separate attacks between August and September.

Police believe that these two incidents, one occurring off-campus on July 16, and the other occurring on-campus on Aug. 23, may be attributable to the same suspect due to their similar nature and the proximity of the assaults.

“The attack in August occurred on campus. The July attack wasn’t on campus, but it was very close,” said Sheridan President Jeff Zabudsky.

The first incident took place on July 16 at 2:30 a.m. when a 27-year-old woman was approached from behind and touched inappropriately while walking through the Morrison Valley Ravine, located between White Oaks Blvd. and Lambeth Rd.

That suspect was described as male, 20 to 23 years of age, 5-foot-8, clean shaven, with dark brown or black hair and a slim build.

The second attack occurred Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. and involved a 21-year-old woman being attacked from behind and pushed to the ground while walking on a path behind the college. She was able to fight off her attacker and escaped, police said.

The suspect in that case was described as white, 5-foot-4, 25 to 30 years of age, with blond hair, possibly facial hair and an average build.  He was wearing a dark blue plaid jacket, a hoodie and sunglasses.

Despite some of the differences in the suspect descriptions, the proximity and nature of the attacks have led police to believe the same suspect might be involved.

In light of attacks, security has employed bicycles this semester to help officers patrol the wooded paths around the college to better monitor what has traditionally been a problem area on campus.

Also, according to officials, a week-long project to test the feasibility of using a golf cart to patrol the paths began this week.

Because the college only owns part of the area where the paths are located, campus security officials are in discussions with the town to patrol the whole area.

“Because parts of the paths are on town land, we are working with the Town of Oakville. We have been out there on the bikes already, but we’re making sure the golf cart will work on the paths and not cause any damage to town land,” said Michael Burjaw, Head of Security, Parking and Emergency Preparedness.

In a mass email, security reminded students to take advantage of the safety programs on campus, including call boxes around campus that connect directly to security, and SafeWalk, which will escort students anywhere on campus up to the surrounding streets.

The wooded areas surrounding the college that were off-limits to SafeWalkers in years past have now been opened up to the program, meaning that students can now get an escort all the way to McCraney St., as opposed to only the edge of the woods.

“Student safety is one of our primary concerns. The college will always do what it can to help ensure student safety, but we also encourage students to always remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and to report any suspicious persons or behaviour they might witness to police or campus security,” said Zabudsky.