5 questions with…Case Western Reserve Detective Sgt. Dan Schemmel

Detective Sgt. Daniel Schemmel, spending Father's Day with his teenage son at the Cleveland Indians game
Detective Sgt. Daniel Schemmel, spending Father’s Day with his teenage son at the Cleveland Indians game

Editor’s Note: As of June 30, 2019, Case Western Reserve uses Rave Guardian. CWRU Shield is no longer active and should be deleted from all mobile devices. Download Rave Guardian on the App Store and Google Play.

Daniel Schemmel was an undergraduate with an undecided major when a criminal justice professor at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia introduced him to his world.

“The study of criminals and why people think the way they do was intriguing,” said Schemmel, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in the subject.

Now a detective sergeant with the Case Western Reserve University Police Department (CWRU PD), Schemmel often uses technology and social media to enhance campus security, as two recent cases reflect.

In late March, a Case Western Reserve student reported to the University Circle Police Department (UCPD) that two males broke into his apartment and stole property while he was there.

After sending an email alert to the campus community, Case Western Reserve police detectives checked some of the 727 security cameras that cover the campus and adjacent areas. They found the suspects’ images, and posted the suspects’ photos on the police department’s Facebook page—which brought forth information from the public to Schemmel that led to the identification of the two suspects. With that information, UCPD was able to locate and arrest the juveniles.

Then, in late June, two students reported they had been robbed on Hessler Road and both Case Western Reserve and University Circle police responded. The university again sent a campus-wide security alert. And, again, Case Western Reserve police spotted the suspects on one of their closed-circuit TV cameras.

The next day, CWRU and University Circle police responded to a report of another robbery in progress on Wade Oval; the officers apprehended two juveniles. In reviewing the CWRU video, the officers found that the two youths were the same people seen on the previous night’s video of the Hessler Road incident. UCPD had taken the formal reports on both cases, and so charged the juveniles with both robberies.

CWRU Police and Security Services, formed in 2006 with the addition of sworn police officers to the existing campus security force, today includes about 25 police officers and another 20 security staff.

The team patrols an area that covers much of University Circle, from residence halls to Uptown. They often collaborate with the University Circle and Cleveland police as well. Last summer, for example, officers from all three departments responded to a robbery at Wade Commons and helped collect information; from there Schemmel led an investigation that resulted in the execution of five search warrants and the eventual arrest of all three suspects within six days.

In the wake of that incident, the university added new security officers charged to patrol in the evening and early-morning hours; in addition, it named a nighttime police supervisor to coordinate short- and longer-term initiatives to gather intelligence, identify potential risks and deploy officers strategically to address potential trouble spots.

In addition, the university continues to install closed-circuit TV cameras; many are high-definition, so that officers can zoom in remotely to view an active incident.

“Our physical security group continually adds a few cameras each month to increase visibility in new construction and areas that require more coverage,” Schemmel said.

The police department’s new website, case.edu/police, explains its services and programs, such as the CWRU Shield smartphone app; A.L.I.C.E. emergency response training; Safe Ride, a free after-hours campus shuttle service that fielded nearly 43,000 ride requests in fiscal year 2014; free bike locks; the RAVE emergency alert system that provides critical updates to campus via email, text and voice messaging; and more.

Learn more about Schemmel in this week’s five questions:

1. What technology do you think we should have, but don’t…yet?

From a police perspective, we are well equipped. However, there are always new ideas and advancements in technology. We have been looking into adding unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to our fleet of available tools and resources. We also have begun to research the use of body worn and vehicle dashboard cameras.

2. What was the most challenging part of your education?

Playing four years of soccer while an undergraduate at Wheeling Jesuit [University] was challenging and prepared me with great time-management skills. I used those skills during graduate school while working full time. I now use those same time-management skills to find quality time to spend with my wife and three children.

3. What popular icon do you most identify with? Why?

Most popular icon to me is my father. He taught me the value in working hard to achieve your goals and that nothing is more important than finding time for your family.

4. If you could live in any other time period, which would it be?

I grew up in Germany and, during my time there, I traveled with my family, visiting many European countries. From early childhood, I have always been fascinated by the European culture, along with the architecture in cathedrals and castles built during the medieval times. I’ve seen everything hundreds or thousands of years old. I think it would great to live and watch as it’s being built.

5. What is your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

Our students, staff and faculty come from almost every nation in the world. This, along with our global visitors, makes our campus and University Circle one of the most culturally diverse areas in America. It seems like every week I meet someone new from a different state or country and learn something new about their hometown or culture. That’s my favorite thing about CWRU.