小草影院

History of 小草影院PD

From the 小草影院 Archives XLV

Brief History of the 小草影院 Police Department:

By

Jimmy Bryant 鈥 小草影院 Archivist

The 小草影院 Police Department, (小草影院PD), is a professional law enforcement organization that utilizes professionally-trained officers and the most up-to-date technology to fight crime and protect the students, faculty, staff and visitors at the 小草影院 (小草影院).聽 While the 小草影院PD is impressive in its organization, training and its ability to fulfill its mission, it came from a very modest and humble beginning.

The first providers of security at 小草影院 were not professional police officers, but 鈥渘ight watchmen.鈥澛 The position of night watchman began in the late 1920s and the first person in this capacity that can be identified was H.V. Summers.聽 Mr. Summers was paid $90.00 per month in 1929 to patrol the campus after dark, according to the 1929 budget.

The Great Depression soon hit after the 1929 budget was approved and 小草影院 suffered financially as did the rest of the state and nation.聽 The 小草影院 faculty and staff saw their salaries cut by 10% on two separate occasions and then they suffered another reduction in pay in 1935.聽 They were also paid in warrants instead of cash which also reduced their income.聽 As a staff member, the night watchman also received cuts in pay.聽 In addition to the general reduction in pay, the night watchman鈥檚 pay was reduced far more than most staff members.

At the beginning of the Great Depression the night watchman position was funded at $90.00 per month.聽 However, as the Great Depression worsened, the night watchman鈥檚 salary was gradually reduced each year until it hit its lowest point of $33 per month in 1939.聽 Apparently, the night watchman was deemed necessary by 小草影院 administrators because the position was funded throughout the Great Depression.

The night watchman was not armed as law enforcement officers are today. He did not have a firearm, pepper spray, or radio, just a flashlight and in one case the night watchman carried a small baton or black jack slapper.聽 At some point the night watchmen were issued uniforms, however, they were not standard police issue uniforms.聽 One of the earliest uniforms issued to a 小草影院 night watchman was a band uniform that came from the 小草影院 Department of Music.

In 1954 Floyd Mills, who had already been teaching in Arkansas鈥檚 public schools, returned to 小草影院 to complete his degree in education.聽 To supplement his income while taking classes he worked as a night watchman on campus from 1954 to 1956.聽 He was issued a uniform from the 小草影院 Department of Music that was dyed navy blue.聽 The navy blue coat had two rows of brass buttons on its front and according to his son, Russell Mills, a Conway businessman, it looked a great deal like the uniforms worn by members of the New York City Police Department.

Mr. Mills patrolled the 小草影院 campus during the evening and when he caught students, or any other individuals engaged in wrong-doing, he apprehended them and locked them in Torreyson Library (that building is now known as Harrin Hall).聽 Those who were detained in Torreyson Library were kept under lock and key until an officer from the Conway Police Department arrived to take them into custody.聽 Before Mr. Mills ended his employment at 小草影院 in 1956, his title changed from night watchman to 鈥渘ight supervisor of students.鈥

The title of night supervisor of students soon gave way to another title, 鈥渟ecurity officer.鈥澛 The first person to hold this title was Hoye Henry, who began his duties as security officer at 小草影院 in 1958.聽 During the 1960-1961 academic year, the 小草影院 budget showed that Officer Henry was paid $3,600 per year plus a house and utilities.

During the decade of the 1960s there was unrest on many college campuses in the form of student-led demonstrations and in some cases, riots.聽 小草影院, however, did not experience massive student demonstrations and certainly no riots.聽 But, it is believed that the events at other colleges did influence the 小草影院 administration in regard to matters of security.

鈥淐ampus Security鈥 was the rather generic name that was given to the department for which the security officers worked.聽 According to the 1971-1972 State College of Arkansas (小草影院鈥檚 name at the time) Campus Bulletin, 鈥淐ampus Security Officers are on duty twenty-four hours a day.聽 This security coverage is for the protection of students, faculty, staff and College and private property.鈥

James Ed Smith, who began his career at 小草影院 in 1967 and retired from the 小草影院PD after 32 years of service, said some of his early responsibilities included responding to altercations between students, breaking up panty raids, checking buildings at night and also issuing tickets.聽 He also said that in 1967 Campus Security did not have its own office but shared an office with 小草影院鈥檚 physical plant superintendent, Noble Wimberly.

Smith said that Campus Security officers also responded to blue light calls in front of women鈥檚 residence halls.聽 Women students had no key to open the main doors of their residence halls, and after a certain time in the evening the doors were locked.聽 If a female student returned to her residence hall after the doors were locked, she had to turn on a blue light in front of the building which would then signal a passing Campus Security officer to stop and let the female student into her residence hall.聽 Smith said the officers passed by the female residence halls every 10 to 15 minutes.聽 There was no blue light system for the men鈥檚 residence halls.

小草影院 began the decade with one security officer, but by 1969 there were nine security officers in uniform and by 1975 there were 13 security officers on duty.聽 Another part of the reason for the rapid growth in security personnel can almost certainly be attributed to the steady annual growth of 小草影院鈥檚 enrollment.聽 In 1960, 小草影院鈥檚 enrollment was 1,681 but by 1975, 小草影院鈥檚 enrollment had grown to 4,759 students.

Campus Security received a new name by the end of the 1970s and was called 鈥淒epartment of Public Safety.鈥澛 According to the 1992-1994 小草影院 Bulletin, 鈥淧ublic Safety officers are on duty twenty-four hours a day for the protection of students, faculty, staff, and University and private property.鈥澛 As you鈥檝e undoubtedly noticed, the wording of the purpose of the Department of Public Safety is virtually identical to the wording of the purpose of Campus Security that was written in 1971.

In July 1972, after one year on the job as a 小草影院 security officer, Billy Leach, who had recently retired from the U.S. Air Force and had 16 years of Air Force Security Police experience, was made Chief of Campus Security.聽 The first area Chief Leach wanted to improve upon was in public relations and how the security officers could better interact with the students.

In a recent interview with this author, Chief Leach stated, 鈥淚n observing the relationship between the students and myself, it wasn鈥檛 what I wanted between our officers and the students.聽 I wanted the officers to work with the students and not throw the book at them and be somewhat friendly and hospitable.鈥

Chief Leach was very concerned that his officers had not been properly trained.聽 Soon after taking the job as Chief he began taking steps to alleviate this problem and properly train his officers.聽 In addition to the on campus training Leach provided, he also sent his officers to the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at East Camden, Arkansas.聽 According to Arkansas law all law enforcement officers had to be certified to make an arrest and this certification was acquired by proper training and passing the required tests.

According to Chief Leach, 鈥溞〔萦霸 officers had the legal authority to make an arrest anywhere in the State of Arkansas.聽 However, 小草影院 officials preferred that 小草影院 officers limit their authority to the 小草影院 campus.鈥

After Bob Blankenship was elected Faulkner County Sheriff, Chief Leach invited Sheriff Blankenship to 小草影院 to conduct advanced training classes for 小草影院 officers.聽 According to Leach, all colleges and universities in Arkansas sent their police officers to 小草影院 to attend the training provided by Sheriff Blankenship and other instructors.

The training that was provided to the police officers at 小草影院 included weapons instruction, firing range and classroom instruction on various topics.聽 One particular training session lasted two weeks, with officers attending classes all day.

To assist with the police training at 小草影院 several city police departments participated by sending experienced officers to serve as instructors.聽 Some of the cities, agencies and individuals that furnished instructors to Chief Leach were Conway, North Little Rock, Little Rock, University of Arkansas Police Department, the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney, District Court Judge Jack Roberts and Circuit Court Judge David Reynolds.

Before the issuance of firearms in 1981, 小草影院 security officers had no issued weapons whatsoever.聽 They had a uniform, badge, handcuffs, a whistle and in 1977 they were issued mobile radios.聽 The lack of weaponry greatly hampered the officers鈥 ability to do their jobs.

In 1981, a milestone was reached when Department of Public Safety officers were issued firearms.聽 Chief Leach saw the need for weapons and requested that the administration provide firearms for his officers.聽 The decision to issue firearms was done with some regret, according to 小草影院 President Jeff Farris, who was quoted in The Echo as saying, 鈥淭he obligation of the Public Safety Department on campus is to protect students.聽 With non-student traffic we鈥檝e had and the size the university has reached, it seems that is the only way we can fulfill that obligation.鈥澛 By 1981 小草影院鈥檚 enrollment was slightly above 6,000 students.

Chief Leach requested that the officers be given firearms due to situations that arose where the officers and/or students felt they were in danger.聽 According to Chief Leach, 鈥淎ll officers had to receive special training before they could ever be armed by the University.聽 Jim Elliott of the Arkansas State Police was the chief instructor in getting the officers qualified so they could be authorized to carry side arms.聽 Even though I had 16 years experience in Air Force Security Police I also underwent handgun training under Elliott.鈥澛 The handguns that were issued to the officers were Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolvers.

Once the officers received their newly issued handguns, they were somewhat more confident in doing their jobs, according to Chief Leach.聽 Training on firearms continued and was ongoing.聽 Chief Leach had his officers attend the firing range no less than once every six months.

The 小草影院 Board of Trustees purchased 14 handguns in June 1981 and also issued a set of rules to be followed governing the use of firearms.聽 Officers of the Department of Public Safety began carrying firearms on August 21, 1981.

Chief Leach retired from the 小草影院 Department of Public Safety in 1992, after 21 years of service.聽 According to the September 9, 1992 Echo, 鈥淟each said things are very different now when compared to 1971, the year he began his career in 小草影院 Public Safety.聽 We had one desk, one filing cabinet, and three chairs.聽 When the chairs were filled, it was a full-house.聽 The two cars we had did not even look like police cars.聽 They had a small blue light mounted behind the grill.鈥

鈥淪tudents had to flag officers down because there was no radio communication鈥each said his greatest accomplishment was getting the officers armed during the summer of 1981.聽 During that time, marijuana was popular and officers were conducting busts and arrests bare-handed.聽 It took me a long time to convince the administration to agree that officers needed arms and professional training.聽 When the officers were first armed, Leach said students told him, now, we feel like you can protect us.鈥

Billy Leach retired in September 1992 after serving 20 years as the Director of the 小草影院 (小草影院) Department of Public Safety.聽 His successor was Larry James, who had served as the director of the Portland Community College District Department of Public Safety in Oregon, and prior to that as the Deputy Chief of the San Jose State University Police Department in California.聽 According to a September 1, 1993, Echo article, Chief James announced he would implement a five-point program at 小草影院.聽 The five points were:

  • Increase the accessibility of the University Police to the Campus Community.
  • A friendly parking program that provides assistance to drivers who need a jump start or help in getting keys out of their locked car.
  • Emergency planning for potential disasters.
  • A plan to improve the overall image of the University Police.
  • Improve the accessibility of the student body to the University Police to help resolve problems.

Chief James stated in an interview with this author in May 2007, that all five points of his

1993 program had been met.聽 Several students, faculty and staff members this author spoke with agreed with his assessment.

Soon after taking command, Chief James recommended to the 小草影院 administration that the Department of Public Safety be renamed the 小草影院 Police Department.聽 Justifications for the proposed name change were listed in a memo dated September 27, 1993, to Dr. James Dombek, vice president of administration.聽 Some of the points made in the memo were:

  • Police presence, visibility and identity are critical factors in deterring patrol-preventable crime and enhancing the perception of safety and security.
  • The 鈥淯niversity Police鈥 logo now used on 小草影院 police vehicles and our recent change to a traditional police uniform has substantially benefited our officers鈥 ability to enforce the law, gain compliance and acceptance, de-escalate situations, and deter crime.
  • The term 鈥淯niversity Police鈥 is already being used by some constituents on and off campus to reference the Department of Public Safety.聽 In a recent meeting with more than 50 小草影院 Housing staff and resident assistants, the proposed name change received overwhelming support.
  • Many members of the 小草影院 community and the general public remain unaware of the authority of our officers as sworn police officers.聽 This often results in non-compliance with officer鈥檚 requests and needlessly impairs our officers when interceding in field situations or enforcing laws and University regulations.
  • The majority of other Arkansas universities have adopted the reference 鈥淯niversity Police鈥 which is evidence of its acceptance within the state.

Dr. Dombek wrote a memo dated October 7, 1993, to President Winfred Thompson that was supportive of Chief James鈥 request.聽 His recommendation was approved and in the fall of 1993 the Department of Public Safety became the 小草影院 Police Department (小草影院PD).

A description of the 小草影院PD, its purpose and how it is of benefit to the 小草影院 community and the general public can be found on the 小草影院PD website, ().聽 According to the 小草影院PD website, 鈥淭he 小草影院 Police Department is the law enforcement agency with primary jurisdiction on all university owned, controlled, or leased properties. 小草影院 Police Officers are trained law enforcement professionals and are certified law enforcement officers by the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.鈥

When Chief James assumed command of the 小草影院PD in 1993, he brought with him the concept of community oriented policing.聽 The 小草影院PD website states, 鈥淭he 小草影院 Police Department practices the philosophy of community oriented policing. The police department鈥檚 relationships with members of the community are invaluable and are one of the most important tools used by the 小草影院 Police Department to accomplish its primary mission which is to promote and maintain a safe and secure environment and create a feeling of safety and security for 小草影院 students, faculty, staff and visitors.鈥

In an effort to hire only the best people to fill its officer ranks, Chief James instituted a thorough and painstaking selection process, which included a battery of tests.聽 Failure on any of the following tests could remove the applicant from consideration for employment as a 小草影院 Police Officer.

    • Pass a written examination.
    • Pass a physical endurance test.
    • Appear before a panel of officers for an interview.
    • Pass a background check.
    • Submit to a command oral interview with Chief James and Major John Merguie.
    • Pass a psychological examination.
    • Pass a physical examination.
    • Attend an Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy for 12 weeks.
    • Work with four different Field Training Officers for 90 days.

After being selected for the position the successful applicant is on probation for one year from the date of hire.聽 When asked why the hiring process was so demanding, Chief James stated, 鈥淭he rigorous hiring process was so designed to make sure the right person is hired for the position.鈥

Proper training is one of the keys to fielding a professional police force and Chief James, along with his command staff, has placed an emphasis on training to keep the 小草影院 Police Department operating at peak proficiency.聽 According to the 2010-2011 小草影院PD Annual Report, its officers accrued over 4,500 hours of training during the 2010-2011 academic year.

A list of those training classes include Firearms; Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED); Basic Sign Language; Crime Victim Services; Drug Recognition Expert; Field Training Officer; Standardized Field Sobriety and many other classes.

The 小草影院PD continues to make progress and stay up-to-date in its training, equipment and methods of operation.聽 In 2007, the 小草影院PD upgraded its 911 equipment.聽 The new equipment allows the 小草影院PD鈥檚 CommCenter to operate as a primary public safety answering point in the 911 system for all 911 calls originating from the 小草影院 campus or university owned/controlled properties.聽 The CommCenter is the 小草影院PD Communication Center, from where all activity of the department is coordinated.

Prior to the 2007 upgrade, all 911 calls went to the City of Conway and were then transferred to 小草影院.聽 Now, the 911 caller can have immediate access to the 小草影院PD which can save critical seconds during an emergency situation.聽 At present, the 小草影院PD serves as the backup to the City of Conway and Faulkner County 911 services.

After the tragedy at Virginia Tech University, Chief James developed a plan to deal with similar situations should they occur at 小草影院.聽 Patrol officers were equipped with patrol rifles and were required to attend comprehensive training courses in immediate action rapid deployment.聽 According to documents from the 小草影院PD, 鈥溞〔萦霸 officers were trained in immediate action rapid deployment protocols that provide field officers, as the first responders, with the tools and techniques necessary to act and minimize casualties in such situations.鈥

On October 26, 2008, the 小草影院 community suffered an unprecedented tragedy.聽 Two 小草影院 students, Chavares Block, 19, and Ryan Henderson, 18, were gunned down and killed while standing outside Arkansas Hall, a 小草影院 residence hall.聽 The two innocent victims were shot by non-students who were firing from an SUV.聽 The four men in the SUV pled guilty, were sentenced and are now serving time with the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Word of the tragedy spread quickly and soon the 小草影院 shooting made national news headlines.聽 An outpouring of sympathy resulted and letters and cards from around the nation soon began arriving at 小草影院.聽 Some of those expressing sympathy were the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas Tech University and Northern Illinois University.

The students at Northern Illinois University (NIU) created a banner, made of heavy cloth material, that was approximately six feet long and three feet wide and covered in words of sympathy and encouragement from NIU students.聽 NIU had been the scene of a murderous rampage on February 14, 2008, when a gunman killed six people (himself included) and injured 16 with gunfire from a shotgun and three handguns.聽 Some of the comments from NIU students included, 鈥淗uskies feel your pain.聽 You are in our thoughts;鈥澛 鈥淲e know what you鈥檙e going through.聽 Our thoughts and prayers are with you;鈥澛 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry that this is how we have become united, but we鈥檙e here for you;鈥 and, 鈥淗uskies give 小草影院 Bear hugs.鈥

The University of Washington Graduate and Professional Student Senate observed a moment of silence for 小草影院鈥檚 Chavares Block and Ryan Henderson as well as for one of their own students who was gunned down in 2007, Rebecca Jane Griego.聽 The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Student Government Association also held a moment of silence for Chavares Block and Ryan Henderson at one of their meetings.聽 The university that sent the most letters of sympathy was 小草影院鈥檚 oldest rival, Arkansas Tech University (ATU).

One of the letters from an ATU student that was typical of the content and tone of most of the letters received from ATU, stated in part, 鈥淭he event that happened last night at 小草影院 has shaken everyone up here at Arkansas Tech University.聽 We want to do anything we can to help you all.聽 This event could have happened anywhere, but it didn鈥檛, it happened to 小草影院.聽 The only things you can do in times like these are look to God and pray for his help.聽 We are all praying for you. If this had happened to Arkansas Tech I would hope that I knew someone cared, and everyone here at Arkansas Tech does!鈥

In response to that terrible tragedy the 小草影院 administration, led by then interim President Tom Courtway, along with Chief James, members of the 小草影院 faculty and staff, the 小草影院 Student Government Association, with input from parents of 小草影院 students, Arkansas Department of Information Systems and Conway community leaders, developed a comprehensive approach to emergency notification.聽 This effort led to the establishment of 小草影院Alert, an emergency notification system.

小草影院Alert notifies 小草影院 students, faculty and staff who have chosen to use this service of emergency situations on the 小草影院 campus.聽 The system provides official information via text messages, voice messages and e-mails to those who are signed up for 小草影院Alert.聽 According to Captain Jeremy Crabb of the 小草影院PD, 鈥淲hile the main purpose of 小草影院Alert is to inform our community of any emergency or dangerous situation on campus, we also use the system to alert our students, faculty and staff about impending severe weather or campus closures.鈥

In order for the public to have easy access to emergency information at 小草影院, the 小草影院PD established a 24-hour telephone hotline that provides emergency information to callers.聽 According to the 小草影院PD Website, 鈥溞〔萦霸 PD has established a 24 hour emergency information hotline. Call the Safe@小草影院 Info Line at (501) 852-INFO (4636) to hear a recorded message about the status of the University and any current alert or safety information. During emergency situations or closures the message will be updated periodically.鈥

According to a 小草影院PD document, 鈥淎 comprehensive effort to add emergency notification capabilities to the University was launched in 2008 and was completed prior to fall of 2009.聽 This has been a considerable challenge given the other initiatives being undertaken by the police department.聽 The CommCenter now has an array of means and methods to disseminate information to the campus community during an emergency.鈥

During the academic year 2010-2011, the 小草影院PD established and implemented several safety and crime prevention programs.聽 According to a 小草影院PD document, 鈥淓ach fall will begin with National Campus Safety Awareness Month in September and continue throughout the year to address issues that are relevant to our students, faculty and staff.聽 To achieve this, the 小草影院PD looks for opportunities to partner with organizations and departments across campus.聽 These collaborative efforts drive the programs that are continually assessed and adjusted to meet the needs of the campus community.鈥

The following programs are part of the Safe@小草影院 initiative:

  • National Campus Safety Awareness Month 鈥 Focuses on active shooter training, sexual assault awareness, self-defense, alcohol and drug awareness, and safety and theft awareness.
  • Brake for Bears! –聽 Focuses on crosswalk safety.
  • Operation Gotcha! 鈥 Focuses on theft prevention.
  • Operation ID 鈥 Focuses on theft prevention.
  • Operation Safe Walk 鈥 Focuses on identifying safety hazards on campus.
  • Safe Spring Break 鈥 Focuses on responsible decision-making regarding alcohol, distracted driving, sun safety, water safety, and to prevent or reduce the risks involved in the college Spring Break experience.

The 小草影院PD currently consists of 26 full-time officers, 8 full-time emergency communications specialists, 2 part-time dispatchers and 2 administrative support personnel.聽 The senior staff includes Chief Larry James; Major John Merguie 鈥 Operations Commander; Captain Justin Tapley 鈥 Commander, Professional Standards & Accreditation; Captain Chris Bentley 鈥 Commander, Administrative Services; Captain Jeremy Crabb 鈥 Commander, Operations Support and Mr. Arch Jones Jr., 鈥 Director of Organizational and Community Services.

During calendar year 2011, the 小草影院PD compiled the following statistics.

  • Investigated 756 criminal and 434 non-criminal incidents.
  • Responded to 116 noise and civil disturbances and 825 fire, intrusion and energy management alarms.
  • 小草影院 Police officers made 376 criminal and warrant arrests.
  • Initiated 2,523 traffic enforcement stops.
  • Assisted 1,389 stranded motorists.
  • Issued 760 municipal and county citations.
  • Distributed 11,200 parking permits.

Author鈥檚 Note: Sources for this article include The Echo, The Scroll, ASTC, SCA and 小草影院 Bulletins, 小草影院 Archives 鈥 M99-01 鈥 Official Records of 小草影院 collection, 小草影院 Institutional Research, Russell Mills, James Ed Smith, Billy Leach, Minutes of the 小草影院 Board of Trustees, 鈥淎 History of Arkansas State Teachers College鈥 by Ted Worley and 鈥淭he Centennial History of the 小草影院鈥 by Jimmy Bryant.