UOPD sued over retaliation against whistleblower

7/7/2014: I’m no law professor, but this complaint against UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed and others raises plenty of questions about UO’s new sworn and armed police department:

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The court docket is here (courtesy of the RECAP program that Aaron Swartz and Carl Malamud helped create). The complaint, well worth reading in full, is here, and UO’s response is here. UO admits their police have a “Bowl of Dicks” list:

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Who’s defending UO? Frohnmayer’s HLGR firm, of course. Specifically Jens Schmidt, at ~$300 per billable hour, he’s got no incentive to wrap it up:

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7/8/2014: OK, by popular demand, let’s see who’s in the UO Police Department’s “Bowl of Dicks”:

Subject: public records request, “Bowl of Dicks” list
Date: July 8, 2014
To: [UOPD Spokesperson and UO Public Records Officer]:

Dear [ ]

I apologize for the language in this public records request. I am asking for any public records that list the members of the “Bowl of Dicks” list kept by UOPD employee [ ].

This list is mentioned in paragraphs 20 and 21 of the “Amended Complaint” filed in US District Court and posted here: http://ia902504.us.archive.org/12/items/gov.uscourts.ord.114420/gov.uscourts.ord.114420.9.0.pdf

Its existence is acknowledged in paragraph 21 of UO’s response, filed here: http://ia902504.us.archive.org/12/items/gov.uscourts.ord.114420/gov.uscourts.ord.114420.16.0.pdf

I am asking for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, which is considerable.

7/10/2014: UO Police Department sued over retaliation against whistleblower

The RG’s Diane Dietz has the story on the UO Police Department’s “eat a bowl of dicks list”. It’s the usual UO mismanagement, bad legal advice, wasted money, and more than a touch of the absurd. Many interesting, sad quotes. Police Chief Carolyn McDermed even provides a version of the list.

What has our feckless President Mike Gottfredson done about this? He’s thrown a lot of money around. The Police budget has increased from $4.3M when he arrived to $5.5M this year, with more in the pot. And that excludes the cost of the HLGR lawyers, back pay to the whistleblower, etc. In five years the cost that’s on the books has gone from $3M to $5.5M:

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Anyone know of a Police Academy that needs a new President?

 

7/18/2014 update: UOPD dick list goes viral

Betsy Hammond has the story in the Oregonian, with many interesting comments, here.

UO’s Strategic Communication Command is still in full denial mode, but a UO Matters stringer has now provided incontrovertible photograph proof of the actual bowl, here. (Warning: This link is NSFW for most though apparently not all UO employees.)

7/23/2014: Latest Oregonian story details additional UO PD sexual harassment grievances.

Betsy Hammond has the story, here. One sexual harassment complaint was settled for $2K in attorneys fees, mandatory sexual harassment training, and 5 box seat tickets to the Civil War game. You can’t make this up. The department comes across as out of control, to be kind. No wonder Gottfredson had the EPD investigate the basketball rape allegations, and then gave the report to his athletic director instead of his police chief.

This story doesn’t even cover the three previous public safety directors who left under unexplained circumstances. Daily Emerald reporter Ryan Knutson won an award for reporting on one situation back in 2009. Some other recent scandals are here, but it’s hard to keep up. Last time I looked up the salary information UO was paying Chief McDermed more than the City of Eugene paid its police chief.

8/23/2014 update:

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I’ve redacted the 4 names and signatures, of the grounds that they probably don’t want to see the bowl come up #1 when someone googles them.

It seems like interim UO GC Doug Park is still paying HLGR’s Jens Schmidt $300 billable for every hour he can drag this out. The case docket is here (courtesy of the RECAP program that Aaron Swartz and Carl Malamud helped create). The complaint, well worth reading in full, is here, and Schmidt’s response is here.

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Pretty in China party scene, and UO spending money on cops not counseling

Great story by Hannah Golden in the Emerald about the gloriously over-the-top parties that our entrepreneurial Chinese undergrads are organizing.

And also an excellent report by Bayley Sandy, headlined “Student leaders do their best to compensate for the UO Counseling Center’s insufficient funding”. Maybe VPFA Jamie Moffitt should raffle off one of the new armed 4×4 police trucks she bought the UOPD, to help raise some money for the student counseling center?

SWAT team update. UO PD to get guns.

7/20/2013 update: Are UO’s new armed police more likely to save lives or cost lives – by accident, “suicide by cop” or over-response? One of DPS’s previous directors was hired by former UO VPFA Frances Dyke, after a bungled attempt to stop underaged drinking at football games at his previous job led to the accidental shooting death of one of his armed undercover campus police. Today’s WSJ has a story on the militarization of civilian police, complete with many amazing stories:

In 2006, 38-year-old optometrist Sal Culosi was shot and killed by a Fairfax County, Va., SWAT officer. The investigation began when an undercover detective overheard Mr. Culosi wagering on college football games with some buddies at a bar. The department sent a SWAT team after Mr. Culosi, who had no prior criminal record or any history of violence.

And:

In 2011, the Department of Education’s SWAT team bungled a raid on a woman who was initially reported to be under investigation for not paying her student loans, though the agency later said she was suspected of defrauding the federal student loan program.

The details of the case aside, the story generated headlines because of the revelation that the Department of Education had such a unit. None of these federal departments has responded to my requests for information about why they consider such high-powered military-style teams necessary.

Yes, the DOE has a swat team that goes after student loan scammers. How long before UO gets one too? No idea. But I’m guessing that the first step will involve our VPFA telling the faculty that the cost will be “relatively minimal”.

6/7/2013 update: Diane Dietz has the story in the RG. Two years ago the UO administration told us and the Oregon legislature that campus police would have a relatively minimal impact on costs. The ODE reported:

Among the first to testify was Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), who shepherded the bill through the Senate, where it was approved last month. Prozanski was joined in the by Department of Public Safety Chief Doug Tripp and Frances Dyke, University vice president of finance and administration, who acknowledged Prozanski’s leadership on the issue. 

Dyke said the costs of implementation would be “relatively minimal” — about $66,000 — and stressed that more than 80 percent of citations issued by DPS for misdemeanor crimes are issued to people who are not students.

$66K? They were lying. At Thursday’s bargaining session we learned that one of the reasons for the admin’s lowball offer is that the police thing has developed some “unexpected costs”, as Ms Rudnick put it. I’ll say.

2/12/2013: The first forum on arming the UO PD was last night. Ian Campbell reports in the ODE, Nick Ekblad in the Commentator, and Diane Dietz in the RG. Guns were a done deal as soon as Lariviere bought into Frances Dyke’s PD plan, as you can see from the arguments that Moffitt and Deshpande are now providing. But JH is going through the pretense of collecting public input anyway, so they can do the CYA if this goes south with a bang. I’m no criminologist, but I haven’t seen any stats on how common the potential outcomes are – although everybody’s got their favorite anecdote. So fill out the poll on the right to give your guess on what will happen next.

And check the RG story – Moffitt finally admits that the new athletic department buildings are behind the UOPD expansion costs. I wonder if she built that into the AD’s overhead charges? And while our Executive Leadership Team has been spending its time and our money on Glocks, Oregon State has leapfrogged UO on yet another research front:

OSU has already flown its first drone flight last fall, over forests outside Corvallis. The university says in a press release that drones will be useful for forest fire spotting and monitoring environmental changes. But it also adds “applications in law enforcement are possible, …”

OUS board give UO cops guns, raises UO student’s tuition to pay for them.

6/22/2013: Two stories from Eder Campuzano in the ODE: GunsTuition. How much will the conversion to an armed UOPD cost overall? Frances Dyke told the legislature it would be something like $66K. At one point she told the students and faculty it would save $76K.

Jamie Moffitt won’t explain what happened – she walked out of the meeting where I tried to get an answer – but my quesstimate is closer to $1-$2 million a year in new costs, recurring. The lesson? Never believe the numbers that come out of the VPFA’s office.

In utterly unrelated news, VP for enrollment Roger Thompson has an op-ed in the RG on UO’s efforts to keep college affordable.

Carolyn McDermed gets UOPD job

6/21/2013. Eder Campuzano has the story in the ODE. Last I looked UO paid the public safety chief more than the City of Eugene paid their police chief. They’re going to get guns too, big surprise. Still no accounting for the explosion in their budget, two years after we were told that converting to a sworn, armed UO police force might actually save UO money. Right.

Graduate student fires shots

University of Oregon Political Science Graduate Teaching Fellow Jack Edward McDowellwas taken into custody outside his home at approximately 3:22 a.m. Saturday, according to a press release sent by Eugene Police Department Sergeant Ron Tinseth. 

After being awoken by gunfire, four neighbors in the East 18th Avenue and Columbia Street area called 911 and reported hearing gunshots from within McDowell’s home. EPD responded to his home where he was taken into custody. Several firearms were seized from inside the residence. 

The investigations have revealed he was allegedly shooting guns into the ceiling of his home. At least 39 gunshots were fired. He is currently lodged at the Lane County Jail on 39 counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Disorderly Conduct 2.

Commentator pops a cap in UOPD gun logic

I think those economists call this a natural experiment. Before 2010 UO had a contract with the EPD for armed officers to patrol campus and respond to campus trouble. I think it cost $500,000. Then VPFA Frances Dyke canceled the deal, and started dumping money on her pals in the UO public safety office. But state law prevented them from having guns. So, no armed response to campus crime. What happened to campus crime rates without a ready armed response? A key fact for any rational decision on arming the new UOPD.

Nick Ekblad has the scoop in the Commentator: UOPD Interim Police Chief Carol McDermed doesn’t know what happened to UO crime rates. But I’m guessing she knows exactly what happened to her budget, her salary, and her PERS: as a police officer, she gets to retire with full benefits 5 years earlier.

Any questions about what happened to our research money? 2/27/2013.

UO Matters reporter Nick Ekblad, on armed UOPD

2/20/2013: UO Matters needs extra reporters to cover everything that’s going down. UO student Nick Ekblad has agreed to report on the armed UOPD public meetings, and he’s got a knack for asking questions:

Q: What is your current budget?

According to the UOPD budget guy: “Our general fund budget is $4 million and another $1 million additional funds so $5 million operating budget. We anticipate no increase in our budget through the end of the transition.

Which means that VPFA Jamie Moffitt is blowing 2 science startup packages a year to pay for armed police and SUV’s, for a campus with ~0 serious crime. 
Ekblad’s full report:
UOPD Interim Chief Carolyn McDermed and Captain Pete Deshpande met with members of the community today for coffee for an informal conversation about the arming of UO police officers. There were no donuts.
About 15 people unaffiliated with the newly named UO Police Department were present in the EMU Walnut room. These are some of the questions asked by about five different people and the answers provided by McDermed and Deshpande.
        Question: What sort of public input would convince you to not arm?

Police Chief McDermed: “There are several factors in this decision [to arm] and public input is one. We want to get as many people in here to see what they think. And then we’ll look at campus safety factors. And then the president will get all this information and may decide to make a recommendation to the State Board of Higher Education and it will be them that makes that decision. If I could hear a solid argument that the University doesn’t want this, it would be: ‘We don’t want your department to provide these services,’ you know, the ones we are currently limited from doing.”

McDermed, on current limitations: “There are several limitations we have now, one of them is not being able to transport people in custody. Another is traffic stops. We have a traffic safety issue on campus, and we can’t ask officers to do traffic stops because of the safety risks. And then, investigations off campus. We could be in the middle of an investigation of a crime that occurred on campus or involved a student– we can’t go off campus to contact the suspect or do follow up investigations and we have to rely on EPD to do that. What’s important to us might not be their highest priority. And then of course, most importantly, when dealing with any sort of critical situation where armed response is needed, UOPD will have a much faster response time given our special knowledge of the area.”

Captain Pete Deshpande then added, “There was a domestic violence incident last night and we had to respond peripherally and wait for Eugene Police Department to respond because that’s just a highly hazardous situation to ask an officer to respond to.”
        Q: Could you explain how being armed allows you to do traffic stops?

McDermed: “There’s so much danger involved in walking up to a car you are unfamiliar with. You are at a disadvantage when walking up to a car. There’s a lot of things to consider, but one very important one is: Can you see their hands? Body language. Are they agitated? Are they upset? Eugene Police Department lost an officer to a traffic stop. You just never know. You can’t predict. You have to be prepared. Captain Deshpande and I have never had to shoot anyone, and we don’t want to.”
        Q: How much time is spent walking or biking versus driving?

McDermed: “It’s important to us to be approachable and not just be driving around in a vehicle. But the reality is that we have over 300 acres of campus to cover. We can do core campus easily on a bicycle, but places like Autzen or Barnhart/Riley areas or even the Baker center downtown, are more difficult to get to on a bicycle. So we have to find a balance in being approachable and engaging with people and then being able respond quickly. Basically, our cars are our offices.” 
        Q: What’s your wait time if an officer makes an arrest for an EPD unit to respond and take the arrestee to jail?

McDermed: “Sometimes it’s been a minute, sometimes it’s been two hours.

Deshpande: “And sometimes, they aren’t able to respond at all. So the person is cited and set loose instead of being arrested.”
        Q: What’s the average response time for Eugene Police Department when they’re called to campus?

McDermed: “The average response time for calls in the last year was over 24 minutes. Response time is critical.”

Deshpande: “Our officers know all the intricacies to campus. I can attest that we’ve got all kinds of underground tunnels and nooks and crannies, our officers can respond much quicker than another agency.”
        Q: Is EPD in favor of UOPD arming?

McDermed: Yes. Chief Kerns is very understaffed and the Department feels that we will be able to help them.

Deshpande: “Actually Lane County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney both are in favor.”
        Q: Will you be training with rifles and shotguns as well? 

McDermed: “We have no current plans to do that right now.”
        Q: And you’re required to go to the range four times a year?

McDermed: “Four times per year and two of those times we recertify qualification.” 
        Q: Would you consider training more often, maybe every couple months?

McDermed: “I don’t foresee that. I don’t know that we would go to the range more often. But there are defensive tactics that we will train in addition to firearms. Things like holds, commands. There is a range of training that we do to stay qualified.”

 

        Q: As of now, if there were an active shooter situation, would you be able to respond?

McDermed: “No. We could not respond, if fact we could not even hold a perimeter on the campus because of officer safety issues. The best we could do is guide EPD in via radio.”
        Q: How effective would Glocks be for an active shooter situation?

McDermed: “The best practice they have out there, and this happened at Virginia Tech, is for the first available officer to respond. Campus officers were the quickest to respond. They didn’t arm themselves with special rifles. And it was the pure knowledge of police responding that ended the incident.” 
        Q: How many officers armed per shift?

McDermed: “The current plan is to have 25 police officers and 10 security officers on campus. And because we have three shifts a day seven days a week, that adds up to 21 officers. So there’s only going to be three maybe four officers on duty at any given time depending on the time of day, day of the week and any special considerations for events. …We will also have security officers performing functions that you don’t need a police officer to accomplish. We are hiring seven security assistants that are students, that are patrolling, doing observe and report things, escorts and that kind of thing on campus, have a visible presense as well.” 
        Q: How will you be recruiting officers?

McDermed: “Shortly we will be posting available positions for more police officers. Campus policing is specialized, so the selection process will look for these specialized skills. But everyone will have the same requirements, including testing, background check, character check. Current public safety officers can compete for the police officer position.”
        Q: Once you select people how long is training?

McDermed: “16 weeks of academdy training then 16 weeks of field training. Then there is a probation period. The first five weeks of field training is spent riding along with EPD.”

 

        Q: What’s the salary range of a police officer?

McDermed: The salary range is comparable to other law enforcement agencies in the area, we don’t want to have to train them and then lose them to other departments. So the salary will be comparable to other agencies like Eugene Police, Springfield Police, our county sheriff’s office and Oregon State Police.

David Landrum, UOPD Director of Administration: “We have a pretty good sense of salary range. It’s going to be very comparable to the local jurisdictions. We won’t know the final number until the classified officers are under a collective bargaining agreement. They would not be able to fall under the current SEIU contract.”
        Q: What is your current budget?

According to the UOPD budget guy: “Our general fund budget is $4 million and another $1 million additional funds so $5 million operating budget. We anticipate no increase in our budget through the end of the transition.

Search update: UO Police to get guns after sham public hearings

Updated: Here’s the list of people on the search committee for the new UO Police Chief:

Andre LeDuc, Chair
Donna Laue
Greg Rikhoff
Margaret Paris
Mike Eyster
Nick McCain 
Pete Kerns
more on this search here.

That’s my take from this appropriately skeptical Colton Totland story in the ODE. 2/4/2013. Jamie Moffitt’s Police Interceptor Crown Vic fleet is already fitted out with mounts for this bad boy:

Can’t we all just get along, perhaps with a compromise along these lines?

Guns, and Jamie Moffitt searches for new Police Chief

Ad here. Anyone know who’s on this search committee? The inside candidate is Pete Deshpande. Ms Moffitt’s non-explanation of why she suddenly fired Public Safety Director Doug Tripp is here. Tripp apparently has a new job in Florida, which will should save us $90K or so on the year’s severance pay. And the latest transparency update from police.uoregon.edu is here – it’s from Francis Dyke, in Jan 2010. Brings back some memories, that does.

Last I checked UO was paying its public safety director more than the City of Eugene was paying its Police Chief Pete Kearns. Presumably the push for guns will yield another big raise. No worries, Moffitt has plenty of money for this sort of stuff, and is happy to spend it if it will make her job easier. Just don’t ask her to help pay the startup for some physics professor.

Will UO arm the new police? I think it’s inevitable. Read this 2011 report from the University Risk Management and Insurance Association. It boils down to this:

  • yes, armed police means a risk of a lawsuit if your police shoot someone
  • but unarmed police means a risk of a lawsuit because someone gets shot buy a disgruntled graduate student whom armed police could have stopped
  • there’s no clear evidence as to which risk is greater, but most campuses our size have armed police
  • in a lawsuit, the “everyone else is doing it” defense carries a lot of weight

1/31/2013.

UO Police try out new pro-gun argument

11/26/2012: Expect a rash of these stories from their public affairs office over the next few months. Now that Kitzhaber’s put a moratorium on the death penalty, I’m all for locking up bike thieves. The easy fix would be to change the rule that prevents the UO cops from transporting perps to the lock-up. But instead they seem set on using this incident as one more reason why they just must have those Glocks:

Update: The Jack Moran RG story on this incident seems to imply that even if UO had armed police able to transport the thief to the Lane County lock-up, he might well have been released anyway, as had happened before. I’ve got these questions in to UOPD spokesperson Kelly McIver:

1) What is the text of the rule that prohibits unarmed UOPD from transporting prisoners to the Lane County Jail?
2) What prevented the UOPD from detaining this person until armed EPD were available to transport him?
3) If this person had been transported to the Lane County Jail, would he have been locked up, and if so how long would it have likely been for?

I’ll post the answers.

Campus police officer kills unarmed student

10/7/2012: The explanation for Friday night’s shooting at the University of South Alabama is still unknown, but it seems likely the student would still be alive if not for the fact that the campus officer was armed. And we’ve posted before about an earlier campus shooting at the University of Central Florida. A campus officer, in plainclothes, fired a warning shot after being harassed by students during an attempt to curb drinking at a football game. He was then shot and killed by a city policeman who didn’t know he was police. Incredibly, the UCF police chief who set up this botched operation was then hired by Jamie Moffitt’s predecessor Frances Dyke as UO’s interim DPS Director. I’d thought he was the first of four DPS directors in a row to leave UO without explanation, but it turns out the history goes much farther back – see this Oregon Commentator issue from 2000. But I’m sure our administration has all the kinks worked out now.

Prof Nicols says no to armed campus police

10/3/2012: I can think of many ways the $1 million or so cost of the conversion to sworn (and apparently soon to armed) police could have been better spent. But apparently our administrators cannot. This letter to Pres Gottfredson is posted with permission of the sender:

Dear President Gottfredson 

I want to register my concern for what I consider a dangerous transition to an armed police force. 

I am in matters of public safety conservative and believe that officers do need to be properly quipped to deal with a dangerous world, but I have never bought the argument that a university police force needs to be armed.  Indeed, it is most effective when it can act as an intermediary between the university and the community.  That advantage, and it is one that serves the interests of both the university and the the community, would be seriously compromised or lost if the UO officers start to carry weapons. 

I have had regular appointments at many universities in the US and in Germany, and most function quite well by cultivating a good relationship with the local police force, but they do not try to duplicate efforts. 

I do realize that many higher administrators must be telling you otherwise, but if you listen to the faculty you will quickly come to see that there are many among the faculty who have very significant reservations about the course and costs of this transformation.
Indeed it is very hard for me to see any advantage that an armed ‘police’ force would bring.  Moreover, I [and I believe others] see many disadvantages and costs that will accrue from such a decision. 

J Nicols: Professor Emeritus  of History and of Classics 

One particularly good anonymous comment:

I do not think that the discussion should be about sworn police officers vs. public safety officers. UO had for years sworn police officers on campus and there is still a college station for the Eugene Police Department on 13th Steet. UO just did not extend the contract with EPD a couple of years ago and now the administration pretends that there is no way back. (I am pretty sure UO can sell the new SUVs to our old police friend who sold us the used Ford police troopers a while ago.) 

The question is whether UO should have this “in-house” with full responsibilities, oversight, and risks or contract with well-experienced law enforcement entities providing sworn officers on campus. OSU does not have a sworn university police department. But their Public Safety department has a contract with Oregon State troopers for these extra services on campus. OSU has no intention to change it. Why does UO? Is UO so much more in danger? Comparing UO to other PAC12 schools with University Police such as UW, UCLA or Berkeley is just silly. 

Frances Dyke told UO and Salem that in-house security could do the job for less money (but not substantially less). I think we can at least question this given the tremendous investments in cars/trucks, new and additional leadership, new “street credible” uniforms, training, guns, etc. — and UOPS’ proposal for a bomb sniffing puppy. I am pretty sure campus’ security could even increase with a UO SWAT unit but such a unit has a substantial price. (I hope that this does not add something to their shopping list.)

Whenever I saw one of the new SUVs or the 4×4 I wanted to take my key and scratch “I could have been a dissertation fellowship” into the paint. (Something I would never do to any other car!) These expenditures are just a pure provocation for anybody who cares about affordable education, support for faculty, (graduate) students and staff, and academic infrastructure. It appears as nothing else than pure rent seeking by UOPS. 

I would appreciate if there would be an update about the “cost savings” that were promised (if Frances Dyke “lied” she should apologize in public to UO and Salem) and if there were any other motives — covering up weed smoking athletes/students in the university neighborhood, subsidizing the athletics department by providing in-house security at sports events instead of costly EPD/county officers, increasing some egos of the leadership, or improving the relationship with EPD because of “rowdy” undergrads in the university neighborhood by covering the area. All these motives might be taste but at least there would be a rationale for the nonsense and money burning. It may make the provocation a bit more bearable. 

Otherwise the UO admin should just stop the nonsense and gain some credibility – providing resources for UO’s mission.