Category Archives: Security and Safety

“$100K endowment goal reached by Eastern Michigan University scholarship foundation”

From mLive, “$100K endowment goal reached by Eastern Michigan University scholarship foundation.” From the article:

Eastern Michigan University has announced it reached a $100,000 endowment goal for criminal justice students thanks to the annual Greg O’Dell Golf Outing.

For the last three years, the outing has been held each September at the Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti. Thanks to the efforts of the outing the university will continue to issue the scholarships in the coming years.

“Pleas from 3 ex-EMU football players charged with beating cousin of Demarius Reed’s killer”

From today’s mLive, “Pleas from 3 ex-EMU football players charged with beating cousin of Demarius Reed’s killer.”  From what I can gather, the deal is these football players who were suspended from the team and thrown out of school earlier in the year all took plea deals that basically make these charges lesser misdemeanors where they aren’t going to be facing any jail time.  As someone in the comments said, they’ll be back playing football (probably division II) within a year.

I have no idea bout that, but it does raise the question: if they have now been convicted of a lesser crime, can they come back to EMU if they want?

“Keeping students safe: a year after murder of Demarius Reed, do students feel safer on EMU campus?”

The Ypsilanti Courier has a nice piece about campus safety, “Keeping students safe: a year after murder of Demarius Reed, do students feel safer on EMU campus?” The basic answer to the question in the headline is “yes.” A quote:

Desmond Miller, EMU Student Government president, said much has changed since last year, including the amount both city and university police officers patrol the area as well as the hiring of additional police officers.

“We feel the police presence,” he said. “We felt it before but we really feel it now.”

Not only have the officers been more visible, Miller said they have also been having a friendly relationship with students and fitting in well with the campus community.

Miller said he’s heard positive comments from students about the safety improvements.

“Students feel a lot more comfortable,” he said.

As I’ve said before, I have never felt unsafe on campus, though there are some areas just off campus– including the neighborhood where Reed was killed– that still seem pretty dangerous to me.

“Too Many Campus Alerts?”

This was from last week’s Chronicle and it was behind the firewall (oh, I have my ways…), but I thought I’d post at least a link and a quote:  “Too Many Campus Alerts?” A quote:

Campus officials and people who sell those systems know they have a problem. “You don’t want the whole car-alarm syndrome. When you hear a car alarm, you just walk on by because you hear them all day,” says Ara Bagdasarian, chief executive officer of E2 Campus by Omnilert, an emergency-alert system used by about 850 colleges across the nation.

Scott G. Burnotes, director of emergency management at the University of Miami, says he can understand the students’ frustrations, but he’s quick to note the university’s larger concerns.

“We cannot just rely on one type of technology. We can’t just rely on text. There are technology failures,” Mr. Burnotes says. “To get people to take action, individuals need to hear something from at least three different sources. That’s why we hit them with the text. That’s why we hit them with the call. That’s why we hit them with the email.”

It strikes me as kind of a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation. On the whole, too many alerts is better than too few, even if they are kind of annoying.

“On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles”

From The Chronicle comes “On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles.” Here’s a quote:

Should the campus police at the University of Central Florida ever need a modified grenade launcher, one sits waiting in the department’s armory. Retooled to fire tear-gas canisters, the weapon was used several years ago for training purposes, according to Richard Beary, the university’s chief of police. It hasn’t left storage since.

At Central Florida, which has an enrollment of nearly 60,000 and a Division I football team, the device was acquired, a police spokeswoman said, for “security and crowd control.”

Yikes. It takes so little imagination to see how campus cops might get out of hand with this equipment during a student protest or what-not. This is the same Department of Defense program that gave the cops in Ferguson, Missouri all of the military-grade hardware that fueled the riots in that town last month.

The good news, as far as I can tell from this table the CHE includes with the story, is that most of the stuff the DoD has given to college campuses is pretty mundane and there isn’t a lot of it in Michigan. MSU got a bunch of stuff that looks like it is mostly surgical/first aid gear; U of M got some computers and barriers (I presume the sort of thing you’d put up to redirect traffic), and Western got one “Mount, Sight” and 20 “Face Shields.”

“Crimes and Misdemeanors:” ET interviews AD Heather Lyke

Well, this is kind of interesting: our friends at Eagle Totem alerted me the other day to this post, “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Jeremy Rosenberg had a chance to sit down with Athletic Director Heather Lyke to talk about the the recent somewhat late suspension from the football team (and also the university) of Darius Scott, Jay Jones, and Quincy Jones and this is what he wrote.

Read what he posted over there, but here’s a quote:

She said that, “University policy is [that] we’re not going to make a public … statement about any misdemeanor.” Lyke went on to clarify that this directive does not originate from the Athletic Department, that is comes from the University.

This is the distinction, readers. According to Lyke, the Athletic Department had a statement crafted and ready to go if the charge was changed to a felony. A distinct line is drawn between a misdemeanor and a felony, Lyke said that there are “different paths that we have to go down” depending on the nature of the charge. A felony charge triggers a series of actions that simply do not occur in the case of a misdemeanor.

You know how I said something was fishy about all this? Turns out the fishiness is coming from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office. In short, how is this crime not a felony? Not that I’m rooting for Scott, Jones, and Jones to have a felony on their record, quite the contrary, but they put this dude in the hospital with a fractured orbital bone and multiple lacerations.

In other words, according to Lyke, these guys weren’t charged with a felony and that’s why the AD and such didn’t have to come forward.

Rosenberg said that Lyke seemed sincere and wanting to be open about all this, but there are still two things that I have to say nag at me a bit. First, why is this not a felony? Rosenberg blames the Prosecutor’s Office and maybe he’s completely right about that. But according to what Lyke told Rosenberg, the AD office knew that there was a crime but they didn’t know who committed the assault until the three players got together with Coach Creighton, who then persuaded them to turn themselves in.

So here’s my question: did these guys get a sort of “preemptive plea bargain” of calling the assault a misdemeanor rather than a felony as a result of turning themselves in? And I wonder if anyone in the AD’s office got on the phone with someone in the Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office (and after the Reed killing, there are probably people in both offices who know each other well) and said something like “Look, these guys were good friends with Demarius and they guy they beat was the cousin to the scumbag who killed him. So maybe if they turn themselves in we can look the other way on this whole felony thing?”

And second, if this is indeed just a misdemeanor– like getting caught with drugs or alcohol in your dorm room– how does EMU kick these guys completely out of school?

So it seems to me that Lyke’s answers actually raise some other questions.

“How Police Caught The Cop Who Allegedly Sexually Abused 8 Black Women”

From BuzzFeed News (which surprised me– I thought Buzzfeed was just clickbait stuff) comes “How Police Caught The Cop Who Allegedly Sexually Abused 8 Black Women.” It is a long and (trigger warning!) rather graphic story about former EMU football player and Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw. The short version is Holtzclaw allegedly targeted middle-aged African American women he stopped while on patrol and sexually assaulted them, more or less in exchange for not being hauled into jail. Very icky.

“Police: Ski pole brandished as weapon during fight near EMU campus”

From mLive comes “Police: Ski pole brandished as weapon during fight near EMU campus.” I always love these kinds of headlines.

A customer at a party store near Eastern Michigan University’s campus was so upset over a bottle return dispute he went out to his car and grabbed a ski pole to use as a weapon Thursday, police said.

The clerk at the Kampus Korner, located 819 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti, went to grab a baseball bat.

The two squared off in the parking lot with their respective weapons until EMU police officers on patrol broke up the fight, according to Chief Bob Heighes.

Bat beats ski pole every time.

Ed Thomas found not guilty on all counts in Demarius Reed murder

Yikes. I for one wasn’t expecting not guilty on all counts.

From mLive, “Jury finds man accused in Demarius Reed homicide not guilty on all counts.” And from The Eastern Echo, “Jury finds Ed Thomas not guilty on all counts in murder of Demarius Reed.”

“Ypsilanti area ‘safety alliance’ among 3 police departments to be announced Tuesday”

I still kind of feel like I’m on vacation/summer break, so I suspect posting here will remain slow for a while. But I saw this in mLive this morning and thought it might be interesting to folks here:  “Ypsilanti area ‘safety alliance’ among 3 police departments to be announced Tuesday.” The opening paragraphs:

A press conference has been called for Tuesday morning by State Rep. David Rutledge where he is expected to announce a “safety alliance” among three police agencies to offer better coverage of Ypsilanti and the campus of Eastern Michigan University.

The alliance is expected to be a partnership among the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, the Ypsilanti Police Department and the EMU Police Department.

This is all fine and good, but didn’t this alliance already exist?