Category Archives: Security and Safety

“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?

Board of Regents News: Tuition, Financial Aid, Safety/Security Upgrades

Seems like we’re in that time of the year where nothing is going on– until everything is going on.

Anyway, let’s start with a  summary of some of the news from the Board of Regents meeting the other day:

  • Tuition is going up 3.2%, which means if you’re an in-state undergraduate taking 30 credits, you’ll pay just shy of $10K in tuition.
  • 70% of the budget at EMU comes from tuition. I think that’s significant to remember because it wasn’t that long ago (okay, maybe as long as 20 years ago, but still) that percentage was less than half. So again, while higher education is more expensive now in part because of administrative bloat and spending on non-educational things (sports and cushy facilities, for example), college is also that much more expensive than it used to be because taxpayers are paying a lot less.
  • The press release EMU sent me of course emphasized the positive, “Eastern Michigan University increases financial aid and invests in academic programs while maintaining commitment to affordable education.” To quote from the press release, “The budget reflects a $4.6 million increase, or 11.7 percent, in University-sponsored financial aid over the previous year. Over the last seven years, Eastern’s financial aid has risen from $21.4 million in 2007-08 to $43.8 million in 2014-15.” So that’s a plus.
  • Of interest to this insider audience: the budget also includes 36 faculty hires for fall 2014, which doesn’t seem too bad but also seems down from the previous year.
  • As reported in mLive article and this press release, the board approved $1.7 million to be spent toward safety and security things– more patrols, more cameras, better lighting, but also a fair amount of money for “evacuation signage” and for those emergency defibrillator things. I wish/hope there was some money being spent on community relations and partnering with the Ypsi PD too.

“Again and Again”

From Inside Higher Ed comes “Again and Again,” an essay by Lawrence Schall, who is President of Oglethorpe University, which is a call for presidents of universities to speak out in favor of gun control. He’s of course referencing the tragic and far too common events of last weekend, the shootings at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Inside Higher Ed has a story specifically about that, “Deadly Rampage.”

It’s terrible on so many different levels, of course, and as long as guns are so easily available in this country, we all know this is going to happen again. We just don’t know when or where.

EMU student homicide: Man who called witnesses snitches on Instagram has charges dismissed

I had not heard anything about this side story as it relates to the Reed murder this past fall, but from mLive comes “EMU student homicide: Man who called witnesses snitches on Instagram has charges dismissed.” A quote from the opening paragraphs:

A 20-year-old Detroit man accused of intimidating witnesses in the Demarius Reed homicide case had charges against him dropped Tuesday in the Washtenaw County Trial Court.

Judge Donald Shelton decided Jarrell Montez Broadnax was well within his First Amendment right to free speech when he posted pictures on social media of two men who testified in Reed’s homicide case and called them snitches.

“Even mean-spirited and despicable speech is protected,” Shelton said.

“Trial date set for 2 men accused of killing Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed”

From mLive comes “Trial date set for 2 men accused of killing Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed.”  From the opening paragraphs:

The two men accused in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Eastern University of Michigan football player Demarius Reed could face two separate juries at trials in June, a judge said Tuesday.

Judge Donald Shelton set June 23 trial dates for Ed Thomas and Kristopher Pratt, both 20 and from Detroit.

Shelton said there will be a double jury trial for the two men, but did not elaborate on why.

What’s a “double jury trial?” Is that two juries in one trial? Why not two trials?