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.

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15 Responses to UO Matters reporter Nick Ekblad, on armed UOPD

  1. Anonymous says:

    Buy that man a Lagavullin.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Love the non answer around foot and bike patrol. I think he is stating that there will be none and the giant SUVs and cruisers shall continue to sit in parking lots outside the baker center after a voodoo doughnut run guzzling gas to run the computer and heater.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps, the faculty should make a resolution to sell all the SUVs and replace them with plugin electrics. After all they only have to patrol 300 acres.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    If there are only 3 or 4 on shift they will have to run in pairs so that is 1 or two patrols out at most. So I think there will need to be more than the current five million.

    Can someone look into how much OSU pays the OSP to cover their 400 acres?

    http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/meet-osp-staff

    Also why the cagey answer on Salary? all the salaries are public info.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    ‘UO delivers police officers to SEIU in return for supporting PD authority’ See Around the O for details.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody else think that the militarization of our “public safety” folks is crazy? Seems like they should be in golf carts and on bicycles protecting and serving instead of driving around all over town in those huge SUVs…

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Who’s the cop who patrols 13th? I like him. He reminds me of the cop from Die Hard, only “Not Black”. And with a mustache. Porn style.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Randy Ellis? He retired last year.. and covered in UO Matters

    http://www.uomatters.com/2012/02/eugene-police-officer-randy-ellis.html

    I love those answers, particularly the active shooter ones.

    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.”

    Won’t respond at all. Hah hah hah. You’re a police officer. You’re paid to risk your life even it means certain death. But they won’t even try. Just leave the non-cops to themselves. Guess what? The answer will still the same even when they’ve been armed.

    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.”

    No, the best practice would be for UO and OUS to stop fighting lawfully armed students, staff, faculty and the public from being able to defend themselves from a completely unlikely scenario like that.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Mcdermed is wrong.
    Armed campus police did not stop the Virginia Tech shooting. The killer committed suicide. The killer chained the doors shut so the police could not get in. One could hardly call it a success for armed campus police. 32 dead. How is that an argument for arming campus police. Armed students or instructors could have ended it much sooner than that.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    If the UO needs armed campus police, why did they end the contract with EPD that provided armed police on campus? Over three years now without armed police on campus and we are all still alive.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Where were you all when this was legislated with SEIU support?

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  10. Angry old lady says:

    With the violent crime on campus our police need guns…..wait, hold that thought.
    With the POTENTIAL of violent crime on campus our police need guns. After all I5 runs all the way down to LA ….”those people” could just travel up here and make shit for us.

    If I were LA I would take issue with that generalization of what kind of people live in their communities.

    I do not suffer the paranoia that cops, lawyers, and district attorneys suffer. Thank goodness! I would never make it to work let alone ever leave my house! I’d be setting on my couch with my AK47 in full riot gear just waiting for someone from LA to break through my front door!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    5 years down the road….I can just see it now.

    UO administration submits application for a drone to ensure campus safety. After all they got bucks to spend! Why not a drone!

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  12. Notacop says:

    Ah, yes, 300 acres of campus to “protect” definitely means they need drones.

    Is there a snowball’s chance in hell that they can be un-policed? Go back to public safety instead?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    What is the traffic safety issue on campus that mcdermed is talking about? How many fatal or injury traffic accidents have happened on the campus in the last 15-20 years? How about zero.
    This is more made up stuff to try and convince the campus community that they are not safe until an armed police force is there to ticket them into a safer environment.
    Has anyone thought to ask who will foot the bill for a negligent shooting or negligent car chase lawsuit that ends in serious injury or death? Answer: It will be the tax payer and the student tuition increase.

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