Former UOPD Sergeant Sorrentino describes McDermed’s mismanagement

1/27/2016: Former UOPD Sergeant describes Chief McDermed’s mismanagement

To quote just one bit:

Shortly before I left, we had to conduct an internal investigation on a police officer for misuse of a law enforcement database. I don’t know how familiar you are with the laws and rules governing that, but let me just say it is a MAJOR no-no.  Basically, the officer ran personal information (her husband) through the system, and wasn’t the most forthcoming about it when asked.  And, I should note, this was a probationary employee.  So as you can imagine, the investigation comes back sustained. 

Pretty basic stuff.  Chief McDermed (through the chain of command, because she doesn’t want her name attached to anything) tells me to write up my recommendation for discipline.  This is  a no-brainer.  Where I came from (the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department), this is, without question, a terminable offense.  So that’s what I recommend. …

Page down for the full email. First some background:

Here’s video of former UOPD Sergeant Frank Sorrentino in action last March, ending a potentially violent confrontation between UO students and anti-abortion demonstrators outside the EMU. He doesn’t use his Glock, he uses the First Amendment and UO’s Free Speech policy.

Sorrentino is not the officer who first responds and tells the anti-abortion protestors that UO is a private university and policy prohibits outsiders from offending students with bloody posters. He’s the one who shows up at 12:30 and calmly explains, to paraphrase, that in America it’s the police’s job to protect free speech.

The students and protestors then proceed with a full, frank, and civil debate:

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 8.58.11 PM

Here’s the Daily Emerald report:

UOPD officer John Loos responded to the scene before the students attempted to destroy the poster, incorrectly citing ASUO policy as university policy and saying that the activist had to stop the “Hitler stuff,” otherwise he would be asked to leave the property. “I don’t see where you’re showing how I’m actually violating the law,” the activist said as Loos asked him to put away the poster. “There would be no need to protect freedom of speech if everybody agreed.” Loos said that the activist wouldn’t be arrested. He just had to put the sign away or leave. “You are breaking the rules of this institution. You are not breaking any laws in my opinion,” Loos said. “This is a privately owned institution, even though it’s a public school. If it’s considered to be demeaning or anything like that, it’s not allowed.”

Then Sergeant Sorrentino showed up. He knew what he was talking about, explained the First Amendment to responding officer Loos, and perhaps saved the UOPD from another First Amendment lawsuit to add to the Bowl of Dicks fiasco:

After a moment, the responding sergeant, Frank Sorrentino, showed up and corrected Loos. The two UOPD officials discussed the graphic for a moment and concluded that the activist could stay. “If you’re cool with it, I’m cool with it and we can let this gentleman do his thing,” Loos said. Sorrentino agreed and said that he was okay with the activist’s demonstration as long as there was no physical violence.

It turns out Sorrentino doesn’t just protect the First Amendment, he uses it. He posted this comment on my post about the failed search for a new UOPD Chief:

You have to be cautious in regards to the chief, because if prospective employers call the uopd, she’ll intentionally stick it to you. I’ll include it this time. I was a 23 year career sergeant they brought in from a large, out of state agency to help build the uopd. After being there a month, I saw how out of control things were. All the “evidence” I have is just my first hand knowledge… Things I’ve seen, heard, and been asked to do. So, from a moral and ethical standpoint, I decided that it would simply be better to leave and live off my pension than to stay and tolerate the shenanigans. So, I bailed last summer. Holler if you have any questions. I think there’s a few people we might know in common that should you ask, could vouch for my statements.

He then sent this email describing some of his experiences at the UOPD. I’ve posted it word for word and with his permission:

Here are a few examples of the shenanigans that take place under McDermed’s watch:

Shortly before I left, we had to conduct an internal investigation on a police officer for misuse of a law enforcement database. I don’t know how familiar you are with the laws and rules governing that, but let me just say it is a MAJOR no-no.  Basically, the officer ran personal information (her husband) through the system, and wasn’t the most forthcoming about it when asked.  And, I should note, this was a probationary employee.  So as you can imagine, the investigation comes back sustained. 

Pretty basic stuff.  Chief McDermed (through the chain of command, because she doesn’t want her name attached to anything) tells me to write up my recommendation for discipline.  This is  a no-brainer.  Where I came from (the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department), this is, without question, a terminable offense.  So that’s what I recommend.  The chief says no.  I then recommend a 1 week suspension.  The chief says no.  I recommend a 1 day suspension.  Guess what?  The chief says no.  At this point I’m actually laughing about it because it is so absurd.  I tell the lieutenant “just tell me what the chief wants me to do, since she won’t tell me herself”. 

He tells me that she wants me to write the officer a ‘Letter of Clarification”, which is barely a slap on the wrist that says ‘don’t do that anymore’.  So I write the letter, which says something like “at the direction of the chief, you are being issued this letter of clarification…..”.   Well didn’t it get immediately kicked back to me because apparently, I’m not allowed to say that the chief had anything to do with this.  And here’s the kicker:  during the investigation, it was revealed that a few of our civilians working at the dispatch center have done the same thing.  So I say, you know, we have to treat employees equally and fairly, so we need to open up an investigation on those folks. 

The answer?  No, we’re not doing that.  WTF??  How does that work?  McDermed said she was going to issue a blanket letter of clarification telling people not to use the database for personal reasons.  Not that we should have to, because when we hired on, we all signed paperwork saying we wouldn’t do that.  I don’t know if she ever issued those letters, because 1: she can’t make a decision to save her life, and 2: she would have made someone else do her dirty work.

Care for another example?  I got lots!

This one concerns our public safety captain, Herb Horner.  When I was there, he was a lieutenant, but he got promoted to captain a few months before I left.  Why he needed a promotion is beyond me. He doesn’t do anything for that 90,000 salary he makes.  So she promotes him and they hug and cry and tell each other how much they love each other.  Really freaking bizarre, right?  Anyway, as I said, Herb really doesn’t do anything.  He schedules special events and stuff but in all honesty, one of the sergeants should be doing that.  Plus, Herb has an assistant that they call a manager I think, and he makes about 50 grand.  There is no way in hell they need two people, at those salaries, to do a job a monkey could do. 

So before I left, Herb tells everyone that he and the chief are flying up to Seattle for a big golf tournament.  Me, being the Italian New Yorker that I am, start questioning things.  Now he starts back-pedaling, telling me that he needs to go up there to learn how to handle major sporting events.  Say what?  He’s our public safety captain.  Been doing this for many years.  Already handled track and field events, football games, basketball games, etc..  You get the picture.  Well oddly enough, the chief backs out at the last minute. (a rare pang of guilt, maybe)?  Herb goes anyway.  Completely on the University’s dime.  And when he comes back a couple days later?  Boy, he couldn’t wait to show us all the photos he took of himself on the golf course playing golf and having fun!  It’s good to know that we had money in our budget for that. 

Oh, now we’re talking about budgets?  Well, I have an anecdote for that, too!

I had heard rumors that the office staff (finance person Leslie Fountain-Williams and office manager Deb Pack) would never tell anyone what our operating budget was.  So, one day I took it upon myself to go see if that was true.  I approached both of them and asked a simple question:  What’s our current years budget, and what portion of that is allotted for training?  I’ve never seen 2 people dance around an answer.  They said things like ‘we don’t know, we’re not sure, it’s hard to say because things change, etc…  I continued on, basically asking different versions of the same general question, and they simply wouldn’t give me an answer. 

Now, the annual budget on my last department was just over $500M.  And you better believe that anyone who had anything to do with the budget, or at least their bureau’s portion, could tell you to the penny what it was.  Why?  Because they were supposed to; it was public information; and we policed with honor, integrity and transparency.  Those 3 concepts ring hollow with the chief and her flunkies. 

They build their little kingdom, then they won’t let anyone see over the wall.  I think part of the reason is that they don’t want people seeing how they mis-manage the money.  For example, when I was finally able to track down the previous years budget, I found that the civilian office staff spent about $7,000 or so (the exact number escapes me right now) on training, while the sworn, commissioned officers received about $700.  Not apiece…  TOTAL.  For the entire year. 

Oh, and since I mentioned Deb Pack, allow me to share one (of many) of her unethical escapades….

Deb has (or thinks she has) way too much power at the UOPD.  Back around April or so, we posted a job opening for an assistant chief.  Deb hired a firm to the tune of $25,000.  No, that’s not a typo.  I said twenty five thousand dollars.  You know what we got for that money?  A guy came to the UOPD, asked a few questions, then wrote the job posting announcement.  Then he collected all of the applications (62 or 63, if memory serves), bundled them up, and sent them to Deb Pack.  I was beside myself.  I asked Deb who then was responsible for vetting and selecting the finalists.  She simply replied, “I am”. 

She used to work at a golf course.  How is it she is now qualified to vet and select finalists for a police job?  Oh that’s right, she’s not.  But she IS good friends with McDermed, so there’s that.  So the day before the finalist are supposed to start showing up on campus for their interviews and such, I again have to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong and ask her who the candidates are.  After getting mad and complaining to the chief that I’m disrespectful or something similar (because how dare I question her as to who our new ass. chief might be, right?) she posts the links to their names. 

One of the candidates was a current employee at a university in Illinois, I think, so I go to the website and find his name.  He has the title of Detective Commander Sergeant.  Take it from me:  there is absolutely no such title within a bona fide police department.  As it turns out, he simply made up the title and gave it to himself.  He was, in reality, just a sergeant.  Which means what?  It means that he did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position we were hiring for. 

So you know me.  I start speaking out about it.  How on earth can I be the only person to vet a finalist that we were footing the bill for to bring him to campus for a couple of days?  Needless to say, that search was a big failure, and they still can’t figure out how to hire someone for the position.  But that’s not the only time she screwed the pooch on hiring someone.  Take, for example, the last attempt she made at hiring a lateral officer.  They get a bunch of applicants that put in for it, and one of the first things they have to do is take the ORPAT, which is the Oregon Physical Ability Test.  You know, running, jumping, stretching, etc.  Pretty basic stuff. 

For those of you that don’t know, the times are set in stone.  You either pass or fail.  There is no middle ground.  Your time/score determines how you are ranked in the hiring process.  Well, one of the candidates that Deb wanted happened to fail his test.  That is, he could not complete it in the required time.  So what does Deb do?  She arbitrarily (and illegally, i might add) adds 10 seconds to everybody’s time so the guy she wants can proceed through testing.  He ended up flunking out at another stage of testing, but that’s not the point. 

It’s just wrong on so many levels.  And McDermed allows this type of behavior to go on.  Shame on her for that.  If she claims she doesn’t know, shame on her for that, too.  And the final straw in that hat?  Deb found a way to blame the officer in charge of the ORPAT for altering the scores.

I guess that’s it for now.  I have many, many more examples of the keystone cop antics of the UOPD.  We used to have some really talented people there, but they have either retired, are leaving, or are looking to leave, just as I did. 

So Sergeant Sorrentino – is there any chance we can persuade you to apply for the job replacing McDermed, which presumably will open up as soon as UO’s HLGR attorneys stop trying to void the jury verdict in the Bowl of Dicks case and Johnson Hall can admit she’s been a disaster?


1/28/2016: Why UOPD security officers aren’t allowed to carry binoculars

It’s about the sororities. More from Sergeant Sorrentino:

In October of 2015, a citizen contacted the department and filed a complaint against a civilian security officer.  The allegation?  That the officer, while in uniform and sitting in a  marked security vehicle, was using binoculars to stare at women through a sorority house window.  The administrative lieutenant fields the complaint and correctly assigns it to the employees supervisor, none other than Captain Herb Horner.  Now, Herb was a cop for about 2 years back in the early 70’s, in Hawaii.  Translation: he knows nothing about police work and most likely has never conducted an internal investigation. 

While some might think that checking out cute sorority girls while on duty and in plain view of everybody is a non-issue, I can assure you that it is serious, and if a regular citizen had done it, the UOPD would take a crime report and send it over to the Cleary and title IX people.  But what does our esteemed captain do?  You guessed it, folks….  NOTHING.  Although the the employee admitted doing it (apparently to learn how to use his binoculars) there was no investigation.  No discipline.  No reprimand.  Here’s how “Captain Horner” solved the problem:  he took away the binoculars away from all the security officers.  Wow!  Great solution! 

But, my stories always have a twist because, you know, I’m deep.  So, the patrol lieutenant heard about this, and he told the chief ‘hey, this is serious.  This is an IA (internal affairs) investigation’.  The chief agrees.  You’d think that would spur some action, right?  Ahhhh, but do you remember yesterday’s post?  She and Herb are good friends.  So nothing gets done.  The employee is still working, sans discipline.  Horner suffers no consequences for his failure to supervise, failure to investigate, etc…   Un-freakin-believable.


From what I’ve heard former UOPD Sergeant Frank Sorrentino, who has been reporting accusations of fraud, waste, abuse, and potentially illegal behavior at the UOPD, was a pretty popular guy on campus, and among many UOPD officers – as distinct from Chief McDermed and her crew.

But given the history of the UOPD leadership, it’s not a surprise that their first response is to attack the messenger and try and paint Sorrentino as a disgruntled troublemaker. Sorrentino’s friends have passed on the details on Herb Horner’s counterattack on him, at yesterday’s UOPD afternoon staff briefing. Sorrentino’s special crime? Apparently he was a little too blunt with the athletic department employee in charge of Hayward Field, when she caught him at a track meet talking to people and doing community policing. In uniform. Yep, we can’t have cops walking around talking to people without the athletic department’s permission.

I’m hoping that this petty retaliation ends, and that JH’s new leadership starts a thorough audit of the UOPD’s spending and of Sorrentino’s other accusations. Meanwhile, it’s good to know that Sorrentino has someone on the inside, protecting his back.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Former UOPD Sergeant Sorrentino describes McDermed’s mismanagement

  1. KnockKnock says:

    This guy has my vote as the police manager! Wow! Sounds like maybe a state auditor should be looking into all of this reported mis-spending!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  2. inquiring mind says:

    Wow. Just Wow. The fraud and waste is numbing if true. Sure hope that it’s looked into in the name of efficiency, compliance/risk, etc.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  3. Angel says:

    Thank you Bill for sharing this information with everyone!! Mr. Sorrentino you make me proud. You have proven again that certain administrators do what they want when they want and ethics be damned.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  4. BIg Daddy says:

    Here’s the thing: I have no dog in this fight anymore. I left on good terms and have moved on. I do not say these things to hurt any particular person, nor the agency as a whole. But enough has got to be enough. Law enforcement struggles enough lately, nationwide. It’s administrators like this that hurt our overall mission. The officers, sergeants and lieutenants at the UOPD are good, dedicated professionals that truly care about what they do and the people they serve. That agency, under the right leadership, could be an outstanding place to work. The students, faculty and staff could all be proud of their police department. Yes, these posts might sting a bit to certain people, but facts are facts and truth is truth. How else are we going to effect positive change and move forward?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  5. Nobody says:

    Sounds like a full blown audit is in order & fire the chief & turn the UOPD back into DPS. Sell the SUVs & guns & pick up some golf carts & bicycles.

    Sorrentino for the head of the DPS too!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +7 (from 11 votes)
  6. Longtime SUNA resident says:

    Enlightening. May I pose a few quick questions for followup? Many pardons for any redundancy contained within my inquiries.

    1) Are all the officers currently within the department misfits? In other words, if I place a call of distress should I run the other direction if a uniformed University officer shows up?

    2) Would I be better off to ask for county or city officials instead of DPS?

    3) If you were to come back, what would you change?

    4) Lastly and of least importance, was the officer who checked up on her husband you referenced ever disciplined or terminated? Was she a top administrators whose relationship with other higher-ups granted her immunity?

    Many thank yous in advance.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
    • Bob says:

      No that female officer is now a police officer at the Eugene Police Department. She was one of Eugene’s top hires. She is also the red head officer that just stands there in officer loos’ first admendment video. Her husband that she is ran a records check on is also.a Eugene Officer

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 4 votes)
  7. My_Life_Was-Put-In-Danger_BYUOPD says:

    Hypothetically, let’s say I work with UOPD and wanted to share my negative personal experience about the inefficiency of the department with the writer of UO Matters, how would I go about this?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +3 (from 9 votes)
  8. Frank says:

    Dear Longtime, those are all good questions. Here are the answers:

    1. No. Quite the opposite, actually. The PSO’s and sworn police personnel are dedicated, hard-working individuals. The problems with the UOPD almost completely rest on the shoulders of the chief and the civilians that she let run rampant.

    2. Again, I would answer no. Although other agencies would have jurisdiction on campus, just as the UOPD officers have jurisdiction off-campus, everybody tries to respect the jurisdictional boundaries. If you called EPD, for instance, they would simply refer you right back to UOPD anyways.

    3. That’s a tough one to answer, not because I don’t have some ideas, but because I’m not sure the powers that be at JH really and truly want a career law enforcement professional running their police department. They want too much control, and the fact is this: just as I have no idea how to run a university, there’s no one at the university that understand and know how to run a police department. They are 2 different animals. I would need the unfettered ability to manage my people and make decisions (hiring, firing, discipline, policy issues, etc) that the university would not want to give me. From day 1, I’d make it clear that there’s a new sheriff in town so to speak, and all the past garbage that has been going on will come to an immediate halt. I would cut at least 3 or 4 positions and reassign the duties, which would save an easy 250,000 to 300,000 per year. And that’s without even trying. They waste so much money on vehicles, having 3 different radios inside, having vehicle idle control systems that are not necessary and are always breaking, etc. Before you know it, we’d be saving a half million a year. Officers would have clear communication and direction from their chain of command, which is something they do not get now. Within a month, department morale would skyrocket. I’d ensure that they were engaged with the community they serve, and that they policed with honor and integrity. EVERYBODY would be treated equally and fairly, and held accountable, myself included. Running such a small police department isn’t hard. Heck, the last bureau I was in charge of at my last agency had 101 police officers. My overtime budget alone was about 3 million dollars. I handled more responsibility, problems and issues in a week than the chief handles in a year. I could go on and on, but the solution is really quite simple: treat people right, and do the right things at the right time. Operate within the confines of the law, policies and procedures. And make sure what you’re doing is morally and ethically correct. If they follow those basic rules, that place would be destined for success.

    4. No, she was not terminated or disciplined in any way, despite my attempts. She was in the process of transferring to another local police department, which she did about a month after her investigation. And she was not a top administrator. She was a probationary employee.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  9. uomatters says:

    As a current employee you should notify UO internal audit, at The Interim Chief Auditor is Trisha Burnett, and the office number is 541 346-6541.

    UO has also contracted with an outside firm, ethicspoint, to provide a website and phone number for quasi-anonymous reporting at

    Internal audit already has a file going about the UOPD, so I’d encourage everyone with information to report it to them using one of these procedures.

    You can email me at uomatters at gmail, but this is not a substitute for reporting.

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  10. anonec says:

    “I’m not sure the powers that be at JH really and truly want a career law enforcement professional running their police department. They want too much control,”

    Now I would really like to know why Chou Her declined… Can UOMatters as “News Media Organization” follow up on this story and ask him? ;)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  11. Bob's Friend says:

    “Bob” – Were you drunk when you wrote your post? Or are you a 5th grader? Or are you just UOPD Officer Zach Hermens?
    I’m guessing you’re Zach Hermens because the grammar (or lack thereof) in your reply post resembles a typical Zach Hermens police report.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 12 votes)
  12. Bob says:

    No I don’t work for uopd I work for another agency nearby. I know people at uopd and have heard lots of stories about the department and former officers.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  13. James Cleavenger says:

    Way to go Frank!!
    Frank – Kudos to you for speaking your mind about your experiences at UOPD. I believe you are saying what a lot (the majority) of other current and former UOPD employees would like to be able to say in public but feel they cannot for fear of being retaliated against, fired, Brady-Listed, etc. But since you quit on your own accord and are now retired, they cannot really touch you can they?! Still, it is a very brave thing to do because crossing the “thin blue line” requires a lot of strength, courage, and moral integrity. Anyway, on behalf of the numerous (probably in the dozens by now) current and former UOPD employees who share your views and wish someone would finally fix this department: THANK YOU!!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +10 (from 18 votes)
  14. Well-that's-that says:

    I really hope Andre LeDuke is given a copy of these comments and the suggestions of reform from Mr./Sgt. Frank Sorrentino

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  15. Jim says:

    How can KVAL get ahold of this. This story needs to be seen by more people.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  16. skeetermeat says:

    It’s saddening to see UOM attack Herb Horner. He’s been one of the few mainstays at UOPD for at least 15 years. He stood up to Doug Tripp and Francis Dyke. Seems like there’s been a revolving door of leaders _except_ for Horner. Somebody has to make the department work.

    I never met Sgt. Frank, but is it normal for UOPD officers to just go places on campus without any sort of need to be there? Would a UOPD officer walk into a meeting at the Alumni Center or EMU? I’m not sure how it being an Athletics event makes it different.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -3 (from 7 votes)
    • Frank says:

      Skeet, no one is attacking Horner. We’re simply bringing some facts to light. Has he been there a long time? Sure. Does that mean he’s competent? No. Looking in from the outside, I can see where you might think he “makes the department work”. Go ask someone who actually knows what goes on behind the scenes. He gets zero respect and has no credibility. He’s like that goofy cousin that we all have, that you just smile and nod your head at when you see him at the family reunion. He’s more like an office mascot than he is a valuable, contributing member of the agency.

      In regards to going to places on campus without a need to be there… Seriously? The police are charged with protecting the life and safety of everyone on campus, as well as protecting the facilities themselves. Are we supposed to sit at the station until something bad happens and then respond? By then it’s too late. Haven’t you ever heard the saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure’? I’m an active shooter expert. Been trained and certified as an instructor by FLETC, and can teach nationwide. And I can tell you this: A sporting event venue such as Hayward Field is what is considered a soft, target-rich environment. That is PRECISELY where someone looking to inflict mass casualties would want to strike, and they’d get a ton of coverage because of all the cameras there. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a visible presence there. Would an officer walk in to a meeting at the EMU? No, that’s a private event. The sports event is public. If you can’t see the huge differences, I don’t think I can help you.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
      • skeetermeat says:

        I came here to read the SEP story and was surprised to see someone I had met being written about.

        This strikes me as something I would read at, where people send in anonymous tips and the stories are designed to get clicks without any real verification. I guess it’s propaganda. Which is sad, because I was glad to see someone writing about the SEP decision.

        I have never heard of your certification but I’m surprised a professional would say things like “He’s like that goofy cousin that we all have, that you just smile and nod your head at when you see him at the family reunion” in a public forum about a coworker. This makes DPS offcers sound like high schoolers.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: -2 (from 6 votes)
    • krantander says:

      Why should UOPD go places on campus when they can just monitor everyone from their squad cars through binoculars?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +1 (from 3 votes)
  17. Hole-in-one says:

    Deb Pack worked at two golf courses before working as a temp employee and then later full time at UOPD. She worked a whopping 2 years and 3 months at these golf courses and appears to have been unemployed for nearly a year prior to being hired by UOPD. This is not the sort of background qualifying anyone to be in charge of hiring police officers. Hiring a caddy or a bartender? Sure. Cops? No.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.