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.


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, …”

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6 Responses to SWAT team update. UO PD to get guns.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Your quarry is not the small fry, but that Great White that did you such grievous injury.

  2. Awesome0 says:

    “When you call something a war, pretty soon everyone is running around like warriors. And when you’re at war you need a fucking enemy. And pretty soon that neighborhood you’re supposed to be protecting is occupied territory.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Cheshire Cat who lives in Wonderland returns with this observation.

    The timing of this decision to arm our public safety officers flies in the face of recent trends, but reveals again how out of step the Central Administration is.

    i recommend that all read the newest edition of the Economist. Headline is “The Curious Case of the Fall in Crime” and the subheading is “Crime is plunging in the rich wold. To keep it down governments should focus on prevention, not punishment”.

    UOM and I have been making this point for some time now yet it falls on deaf years.

    • Anonymous says:

      All too true. A ‘gold plated’ operation and as Cheshire points out, the money might have been better spent on ‘prevention’.

      To be fair to the administration, there is concern of course that a deranged person may take up a gun and start shooting, but it is hard to believe that in such cases the State Police and others would not be called in.

      All in all the new configuration of Pubic Safety strikes me as excessive expense and one that has been motivated by a misconception of how much ‘safety’ can be provided.

  4. DaffyDuck says:

    Is it just us Ducks who think all this smacks of a Praetorian Guard?

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