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.
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”. I assume the next step would be someone on the board to start looking into various firearms to equip their new team. Considering many websites similar to The Truth about Guns offers more information on firearms, they’ll probably complete their research online and keeping minimal expenditure might be a low priority.
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, …”