Prof Michael Hames-Garcia calls for UOPD disarmament

In the Daily Emerald, here:

… Our university leaders tell us what they — and we — can do about our feelings of outrage, which lie in “education, research, and leadership.” That is not true. University leaders have the power to begin correcting the decades-long momentum in our country toward becoming a police state.

They can institute substantive and independent civilian oversight with investigatory and disciplinary authority.

They can disarm the UOPD.

They can defund the UOPD, destroy its arsenal of semi-automatic “patrol rifles” with high-capacity magazines and reduce its personnel.

They can disband the UOPD, returning to an unarmed Department of Public Safety.

In the meantime, I will support my students in organizing, protesting and defying city curfews to make their anger heard. Like them, I am out of patience.

More on the UOPD’s bloated budget and scandals in the Public Safety tag below.

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16 Responses to Prof Michael Hames-Garcia calls for UOPD disarmament

  1. Environmental necessity says:

    UOPD should be cut heavily and, at least, disarmed and demilitarized. Anything beyond busting up dorm parties should be handled by the EPD.

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was a student, I lived near campus and was a victim of a property crime. UOPD responded immediately and treated me with compassion.

      According to a March 11, 2018 Register Guard article, “[EPD] or 911 dispatch supervisors disregarded one-third of the daily average calls that the department received last year. They did so because the calls were deemed low priority and no officer would be available — either immediately or hours later — to respond.” As a property crime victim, I’m quite certain that my concern (although it was very scary to me) would not have made the cut.

      The UO community would not be better served by EPD, which is already spread too thin and does not receive any training about UO’s communities.

      • Environmental necessity says:

        My view is not that the UOPD provides no value whatsoever but that given current budget circumstances they are not worth it.

  2. Daniel Tiger says:

    So we would rather have EPD officers that don’t know our campus or our students, who don’t have Crisis Intervention Training, or have served on Housing committees, in our dorms giving our students the same treatment they’ve given the community during downtown protests or typical property crime issues?

    Can you talk more about why you think EPD would do a better job?

    • Environmental necessity says:

      Ask the students if they want an armed UOPD, the UOPD record is, ahem, poor, and the reason for EPD is that they are at least as competent, and we already pay for them.

      • Daniel Tiger says:

        What poor record for UOPD are you referring to? Unless I missed something, two recent misconduct cases both resulted in the officers being fired.

        While we keep hearing about Bowl of Dicks, the agency is a different place than it was five years ago.

        Maybe you haven’t been on campus long enough to remember what it was like when we had EPD as our primary responding police. I do, and I much prefer having UOPD. They come to our meetings when we ask. They conduct training when we ask. They have student programs like the Shuttle and Designated Driver Shuttle. Maybe we could ask those students?

        I’m not a complete cheerleader for UOPD, but I much prefer them to EPD.

        • Environmental necessity says:

          Two points. First, there are very, very few people who have been on campus long than me. Doesn’t make my views correct but I am well aware of the history of this place. Second, the issue is not just one of relative performance. It is also one of cost in an era of austerity and budget cuts. Many dollars in the bloated UOPD budget could be better spent on other purposes essential to our mission.

  3. Anonymous says:

    In case folks missed it, here’s more about former UOPD officer James Cleavenger, who is mentioned in the op-ed. The whistleblower in the infamous “bowl of dicks” scandal raped a classmate in law school, according to the report she tried to make to them. Make sure to click on the completely unhinged rant he sent to the Weekly.

  4. Observer says:

    I think the unspoken aspect of this is that the UO must have established a force of armed police in case there was a shooter on campus. I am not wholly against the idea of an armed UOPD. But it needs to be a responsible, sane, well and carefully trained force who are not going to be indulging in any bowl of dicks stupid shenanigans. So far it seems as if the people hiring the force only pick the occasional good people by accident.

  5. thedude says:

    THe UO police now also does a patrolling for EPD when they can’t make it.
    Of course the UO pays for it.

    • Richard Bohloff says:

      This was a very gracious initiative from Jamie Moffitt to divert academic funds to militarize campus. EPD was already required to respond to emergencies gratis, but she offered to trade the costs associated with this response for control and direction of a campus police force. This was a direct result of domestic violence, drugs, theft, and similar calls involving athletes at the time going to EPD, which then were being made public through the Register Guard. To keep these cases quiet required the resources to fund a police force that reported to Johnson Hall.

      Even then she used school shootings as a way to scare obedience with her plan, but the truth is in these situations the SWAT team gets called in, which is still going to be EPD. The necessity for UOPD was never about faster response times, as EPD was (and remains) perfectly capable of providing similar response times, it was always about control of information.

  6. What'sTheArgument? says:

    To my knowledge, UOPD have never had occasion to ever discharge or possibly even ever unholster their firearms. (Ironically, the only incident of a cop pointing a gun at a student on campus recently involved the EPD – in 2019, not the UOPD.) It’s also certainly the case that UOPD were armed due to the perceived threat of an “active shooter” on campus, which was very much on people’s minds after Roseburg and other incidents. Is that no longer a concern? If not, what changed? It would be nice if we could be consistent and evidence-based in how we perceive and respond to threats, rather than lurching from one to the next.

  7. What the Chuck says:

    Several false or misleading statements in the professor’s article. If the police department disbands, do they lose their credentialing and access to formal DPSST training? Won’t this invite less-qualified officers to apply. Moreover, allow lesser trained employees to make decisions about our collective safety? It is concerning to paint so many good people with such a broad stroke. I’m no artist though, so what do I know. I just want my office door unlocked when I forget my keys. Perhaps the answer is to disband the UofO altogether. Please wait until I retire.