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.

Campus crime wave drives UO Police spending, guns, SUV’s

9/28/2012: Just kidding, there’s no detectable increase. From the UO Clery Act report. But spending on the UO Police, now that’s way, way up. Read our VPFA office’s attempts to rationalize that here. If Bean had grown spending on TT faculty or grad students at this rate we’d have a shot at staying in the AAU. But security for the Jock Box and Matt Court ain’t cheap:

What’s this really about? Nina Bernstein, reporting in the NYT last year, has some reasonable suspicions. And then there are the less expected costs of having a campus police force. From the WSJ: UC Davis Reaches $1M Settlement with Protestors over Pepper Spray. For a contrast, remember how well UO handled our own Occupy situation, with civilians in charge?

Third straight DPS director leaves under weird circumstances.

Update: Wondering how DPS managed to increase spending from $2.8 million in 2010 to $4.0 million in 2012? Financial Transparency reports here.

A few days ago the RG had a story on the $2.8 million budget for security at the Olympic trials, $500,000 of which came from an emergency state appropriation. Then our DPS Director resigns the day before it starts, effective immediately?

I do not believe this email from Jamie Moffitt. If there are legitimate reasons for keeping things secret, then at least tell us you can’t tell us the whole truth. The UO administration has zero credibility on DPS now.

Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:20 AM
To: Deans-Dirs List (
Subject: deans-dirs: Campus Communication

Message on Behalf of Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration

Campus Communication

Doug Tripp, executive director of the UO Department of Public Safety and chief of police, has informed me of his plans to return to the Midwest in order to move closer to his extended family.  Given the importance of the University’s police department transition plans, Chief Tripp has stepped down from his leadership role so that the University of Oregon can select a permanent replacement who will see this transition through to completion.  I have asked Carolyn McDermed to serve as interim executive director and interim chief, effective immediately, while a national search is conducted for a permanent police chief.

Until Chief Tripp secures a new position in the Midwest region, I have asked him to serve in an advisory capacity, assisting me with specific issues related to police department transition planning.

I want to thank Chief Tripp for his years of service to the UO.  He has been instrumental in helping define and lead the transition from a campus public safety department to a sworn police force.  We wish him well in his future endeavors and appreciate his current effort to ensure a seamless leadership transition for the department.

In addition to running the department’s day-to-day operations, Interim Chief McDermed will be tasked with continuing the University’s police transition until a permanent police chief is named.

The University of Oregon remains dedicated to implementing a community-oriented and trust-based policing model that addresses the unique safety and security needs of UO students, faculty, staff and visitors.  The staff of the Department of Public Safety has shown a strong commitment to these ideals and I know that they will continue to deliver on that promise under Interim Chief McDermed’s able leadership.

Jamie Moffitt
Vice President for Finance and Administration & CFO University of Oregon

While just 8 days ago, this:

From: [] On Behalf Of Kathy Warden
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:31 AM
To: ‘’
Subject: deans-dirs: Campus Update on Police Department Transition

Sent on behalf of Jamie Moffitt –

To: UO Deans & Directors

From: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO

Subject: Campus Update on Police Department Transition

Last year both the legislature and the State Board of Higher Education approved the transition of our campus security department into a police department.   The University officially established the UO police department on January 1, 2012 and several officers have now been commissioned and sworn as police. These police officers have the same authorities as others in the state and are required by Oregon law to clearly identify themselves as police. For this reason, you will soon notice University of Oregon police officers in new uniforms on campus.

The UO police officers will have the same equipment currently carried by UODPS public safety officers. During the next academic year, the university will host a variety of campus discussions about the issue of arming campus police. These discussions will allow for broad participation by students, faculty and staff. After those discussions and no earlier than Spring 2013, university leadership will make a recommendation to the state board of higher education on whether to arm our police.

Please visit to learn more about the UO police department transition. Also, if you have questions, we’d love for you to join us at an informal “Coffee with the Chief” that we will be hosting later this summer. This will be the first of many opportunities for campus community members to meet with our Police Chief to further discuss the policing transition.

Please share this with others in your department who may be interested.


Full-auto now, oversight later

4/24/2012. UO has put out an RFP to add dual mounts for AR-15’s and shotguns to the DPS Crown Vic Police Interceptor fleet – so far as I can tell they haven’t actually bought the assault rifles yet.

I’m sure there will be those in the physics department who will argue for something with better HEAT capability, but I for one salute our Johnson Hall Officers of Administration for preparing to send our public safety officers out into campus armed with this full-auto classic before bothering about the still incomplete oversight process for DPS.

Speaking of the need for police oversight, read this amazing Atlantic story on the Davis pepper-spray attack:

Despite the lack of clarity of the legal basis to remove the tents, the UCDPD operation plans for both November 15 and November 18 stated that camping was not allowed on campus and that tents would not be permitted… A few hours before the operation commenced, Chief Spicuzza, Lieutenant Pike and OfficerP sought legal advice regarding the laws that apply to camping on the UC Davis campus… This call was apparently placed because of the Lieutenants’ continued concern over the legal basis for removing the tents, and the police operation was commenced only after this last-minute call.

The legal advice given in that call was kept secret from the independent investigators. But the Kroll report undertook its own analysis of the relevant laws, and found that each one cited by UC Davis administrators and police to justify their actions didn’t apply. They failed to press “for a definitive legal assessment of the scope of its authority to order the removal of the tents,” the report concluded. “Kroll has been unable to identify the legal basis for the decision of the Leadership Team to act against the protesters… It appears that the UCDPD mounted its operation absent the clarity of legal authority under pressure from the Administration to do something to get rid of the tents.”

Note how infinitely better UO’s leadership handled our own Occupy situation, without armed police. So why do we want this now?

Thanks to one anon reader for the DPS xerox, and another for the Atlantic story. please keep this stuff coming. 

City’s legal bill $419,000 in arrest

3/26/2012: From the RG:

The total legal costs — $419,000 — dwarf the $5,583 in damages that a jury awarded Schlossberg in January, after deciding unanimously that his constitutional rights were violated by Solesbee during a March 13, 2009, encounter in front of an Umpqua Bank branch in downtown Eugene.

Part of the cost of having a police force, as UO will soon learn. Meanwhile we’ve posted an ad for a new Police Captain:

Police Captain, Safe Campus Team
Department of Public Safety

Open until filled; priority review of applications begins April 17, 2012
The University of Oregon in Eugene seeks an experienced, senior, commissioned law enforcement professional with superlative people skills and leadership ability to fill the position of Police Captain with the Safe Campus Team at the Department of Public Safety (UODPS).

Doesn’t sound cheap. And rumor has it they’ve also hired a $10,000 a month consultant. Meanwhile DPS Director Doug Tripp – already paid more than the Eugene police chief – is in Salem for 4 months, going through basic Oregon police academy training.

Frances Dyke told the campus – and Floyd Prozanski and the state legislature – that the conversion to sworn police would cost UO almost nothing. She lied. Will new UO CFO Jamie Moffitt come clean on this?

First they came for the guns,

but I kept silent, because I did not own a gun. Then they came for the cell phones …

OK, maybe that is a little over the top even for UO Matters. But it’s motivated by an interesting ODE Becky Metrick story about a fist-fight on campus, and what may be one of the first arrests since UO Public Safety converted to a sworn police force:

Amin’s teammate and brother Abdul Tufa had been recording the arrest with his phone. Shortly after Amin was placed in the police car, DPS forcefully confiscated Abdul’s phone, claiming they wanted the recording on the phone as evidence of the fight and arrest.

The UO Police confiscated a student’s phone after he recorded them making an arrest? Is that legal? Should it be? Note that the video also apparently included the original fight. A reader sends along this youtube video on the importance of cell phone cameras when dealing with the police. 3/8/2012.

UO police is not about money or guns

3/2/2012: It’s about power. Nina Bernstein reported on this in the NYT back in November:

On most of these campuses, law enforcement is the responsibility of sworn police officers who report to university authorities, not to the public. With full-fledged arrest powers, such campus police forces have enormous discretion in deciding whether to refer cases directly to district attorneys or to leave them to the quiet handling of in-house disciplinary proceedings.

The UO administration is refusing to allow the committee set up to monitor our new police to even call itself an “oversight” committee. They hate that word.

So, imagine some football player gets arrested by the UO police for, say, stealing a student’s laptop because it has pictures of him doing bong hits on it. Who will decide whether or not to report this to the Lane County DA for prosecution? Doug Tripp and his direct boss, Jamie Moffitt? The UO President? After consulting with whom? Does anyone know the answers here?

Thanks to Portland blogger Jack Bogdanski for the link and the reminder of our earlier post on this.

UO police will cost UO 5 to 15 professor slots

3/1/2012: That’s my guess. Last year Doug Tripp and Frances Dyke told the faculty – and the legislature – that campus police were going to save UO $73,000. And you wonder why Johnson Hall has negative credibility. Here are the last ten years of DPS spending, from the Financial Transparency Banner tool:

2002-03                        $1,607,012
2003-04                        $1,612,250
2004-05                        $1,733,536
2005-06                        $1,789,688
2006-07                        $2,427,713
2007-08                        $2,166,847
2008-09                        $3,073,604

2009-10                        $2,831,690
2010-11                        $3,811,421

2011-12                        $4,287,098

$2.6 million, growth over 10 years, nearly tripling their budget. But now that the conversion to sworn police is starting, things are really going to get expensive. Word down at the Baron’s Den is that UO has hired a $10,000 a month consultant (a retired Eugene police captain) to plan how to spend all that money. Becky Metrick of the ODE has some news on the 6 year plan that is being put together. That will be an interesting budget to see.

Have gun, will travel

2/28/2012:  Becky Metrick of the ODE writes on UO Police Chief Doug Tripp’s upcoming 16 week course at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem:

Tripp and Hansen, who have had no previous official police force experience, are required to go through the 16 weeks of training that any new police officer would be asked to go through. …

UO’s Police Chief has no previous police force experience or training but (as of last time I looked, about 6 months ago) we already pay him more than Eugene pays its Chief of Police, who has a far larger staff, budget, and more complicated job. I wonder who is minding the store for UO while Tripp is in training, and what it’s costing? When Frances Dyke and Doug Tripp were pushing this idea to the faculty, OUS, and legislature, they told us the conversion could *save* UO money – $73,000 as I recall. I’m thinking we were lied to.

Metrick also gets this interesting quote, which touches on the non-financial costs of the decision to convert from bike riding public safety officers to police interceptor cruising armed & sworn police:

“When you think about it, the types of people who have signed up for this type of law enforcement work, it’s really different from the population you’re dealing with, assuming a core mission,” Kelly McIver, the communications director for DPS said. “And it will be a huge hurdle to overcome because not all of our officers have a desire to be police officers.”

Campus cops get guns, money

Updated 2/10/2012: Becky Metrick of the ODE has the scoop:

The guns, which are being used solely for training purposes, were ordered back in November after Lariviere signed a directive that authorized the creation of an official police force.

“Part of that document required DPS to acquire firearms for the certification, re-certification and training and skills maintained,” Executive Director and Chief of the Department of Public Safety Doug Tripp said. “As a part of the certification process, we must provide weapons.”

Here’s what the ODE printed on October 10, also by Becky Metrick, just 4 months ago, after the OUS Board authorized conversion from a public safety department to a sworn police force:

One of the biggest areas of debate has been whether the police force will be armed with possibly glock 19 and glock 19 holsters, but the board explicitly stated that its decision Friday did not include the use of guns or tasers. Should the University decide it wants an armed police force, it will have to request that of the board at a future date.

Still, the issue is likely to re-emerge as many have begun to question the effectiveness of an unarmed police force, especially in the wake of the Oregon Court of Appeals’ decision two weeks ago, which abolished the Oregon University System’s concealed carry ban for weapons.

“There are police forces around the world who do not habitually carry arms,” board member Paul Kelly Jr. said. “This is a decision that’s to be made down the road.”

Obviously a lot of people have been lying to the UO students and faculty about this. But new CFO Jamie Moffitt doesn’t see what the fuss is all about:

According to Jamie Moffitt, the director of the advisory group, information about this step was sent out months ago.

“I’m surprised because we had a memo that talked about weapons to be purchased that was sent out to people, including student representatives,” Moffitt said. “This information has been out.”

She’s surprised that we’re surprised? I’ve got a request in for that memo. (Update: got it from another source. There is no sign that it was sent to students.) Meanwhile here are the last ten years of DPS spending, from the Financial Transparency Banner tool:

2002-03 $1,607,012
2003-04 $1,612,250
2004-05 $1,733,536
2005-06 $1,789,688
2006-07 $2,427,713
2007-08 $2,166,847

2008-09 $3,073,604
2009-10 $2,831,690
2010-11 $3,811,421

2011-12 $4,287,098

Or $2.6 million, 166% growth over 10 years.

Last year Tripp and Frances Dyke told the faculty that campus police were going to save UO $73,000. This year their budget grew $475,000. Dyke has now been put out to pasture as a “special assistant” to the provost. We’re paying her $223,118 – an $11,000 raise over last year. Still wondering where our administration blew our science faculty start up money? Don’t forget to thank Senator Floyd Prozanski for pushing the armed sworn police bill through the legislature – over the objections of many Republicans.

The Campus Police Website is here. Their “campus policing initiative” is here, with links to oversight committee’s, etc. Many broken links.

Thanks to for the link.

UO Police swearing in ceremony

1/25/2012: Had a comment about this a few days ago:

DPS secretly swore in police officers last week and no one from the public was invited. Free lunch and beverages provided along with the rights to be a cop and arrest people. I heard it was mainly the administrators that were sworn in. So if it was administrators becoming full fledged sworn police then what about the officers? 

Anyone know any more?

New profs to get bitchin 4×4’s instead of labs

1/11/2012: At the Senate meeting today Institute for Neuroscience director Shawn Lockery raised the very reasonable question of where UO was going to get the startup money for the 20 new science hires that Russ Tomlin has authorized. A new science hire can easily expect $1 million or so to get their lab up and running – money that UO eventually gets back in grant overhead and in the prestige of staying in the R1 AAU category.

But it turns out that former VP for Research Rich Linton and former VPFA Frances Dyke have blown all the startup money on junk ranging from remodeling the General Counsel’s Office in Johnson Hall to the Huron contracts to Bean’s 5 pet ideas to ???? It’s not clear what will happen next. Will Scott Coltrane come up with the money? Out of whose hide?

My suggestion? If we can’t give them a lab, let’s at least let them have their pick of UO Police Chief Doug Tripp’s new 4×4 cruisers – since that’s where Dyke spent a bunch of the money that should have gone to research.

And as a commenter asks, where was Provost Jim Bean while all this was going on? Asleep, or just clueless as usual?

UC-Davis Chancellor and Campus Police flunk exam

11/20/2011: People have been sending me a lot of pictures and videos of the UC-Davis Campus Police assaulting the “Occupy” students with pepper spray. I don’t know the details so I’m not going to comment on what happened or whether or not Chancellor Katehi should go, though obviously the cop with the mace is a pig:

Apparently the UC-Davis campus police are now claiming they were surrounded and threatened. By 110 pound kids wearing hoodies, with iPhones. I know the feeling, that’s why I never lecture in Columbia 150 without a Tazer on my belt: (Photo borrowed without permission from Michael Ciaglo)

I will say that the fact UO and Eugene managed to avoid an ugly incident of this sort with the Occupy Eugene movement and their brief stay on campus is a credit to all the people involved: the city, the protestors, the people in Public Safety, and some nameless and effective university administrators.

I’m sure there’s some lesson in here about the wisdom or folly of having sworn police like UC-Davis rather than public safety officers, but I’m not sure what it is. If you think you do, or want to find out, get involved in the UO Police Oversight process. Their out of date website is here. The faculty and students they list as members have quit out of frustration or graduated. We are going to have a lot of sworn police on campus very soon, with riot gear and the same sort of training the UC-Davis police had. Regardless of how you feel about Prozanski and Dyke’s legislation, it’s now the law, and OUS is going to let Lariviere carry it through. What happens next time – and all the consequences – will be our problem.