Former police officer speaks with 10 News about handling student protests

The conversation comes a day after 82 people were arrested including 52 Virginia Tech students

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Less than 24 hours after 82 people were taken away in handcuffs from Virginia Tech’s campus, students have returned to a much smaller encampment.

The scene on campus Sunday night some described as chaotic. However, the arrests and protest never reached a point where students got violent with Virginia Tech Police.

The police department was unable to talk with the media on Monday following the incident. However, 10 News spoke with former police officer, Tod Burke, to get the perspective of how to approach situations like those that happened over the weekend.

One word repeated throughout the conversation with Burke was ‘communication.’

“One of the things that’s really critical are for police leaders to meet with the leaders of the protestors as well as campus administrators. Kind of have a group meeting. Lay down the ground rules. Here’s what we’re going to permit, here’s what we’re not going to permit. If you do violate this, we will be taking action,” Burke said.

Burke applauded the police for not showing up unannounced with riot gear on. Instead, police were clear that they would be at the scene at a certain time to start arresting those who didn’t leave.

Virginia Tech had sent out a message to the university community about the heavy police presence.

“I think it’s important to kind of give a warning. Here is what we’re going to permit, here’s what we’re not going to permit,” Burke said.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

Recommended Videos