The University Record, June 25, 1996

Administration responds to DPS Oversight Committee report

By Rebecca A. Doyle

U-M President James J. Duderstadt and Farris W. Womack, executive vice president and chief financial officer, responded quickly to a report of the Public Safety Oversight Committee that was issued June 17.

Answering the committee's concerns about their limited resources, access to citizen complaints and the lack of a University-based attorney well-versed in criminal law, Womack and Duderstadt noted that they agree that the committee needs additional support in the form of staff, telephone service, storage space and a budget.

They also agreed that the committee should receive copies of all formal reports of dissatisfaction with the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Their response noted that both Duderstadt and Womack will work with Elsa Kircher Cole, University general counsel, to "evaluate the volume of criminal work and whether the amount would justify such a full-time position" and to determine the best way to provide that service.

The committee also reported its perception of the professionalism and quality of the programs and training received by DPS personnel, and recommended a more in-depth study.

"Because of the importance of these issues," wrote the administrators in their reply, "we agree that a study in greater detail is needed to determine what actions can appropriately address these issues and perceptions and to identify other issues which may exist.

"For this reason, we have asked Dean Paul Boylan, who headed the Task Force on Campus Safety and Security, to head a Five-Year Review Committee. This committee would review the progress made on the twelve recommendations issued by the task force.

"Based on this more in-depth study, we intend to take the appropriate steps to address both issues and perceptions which are identified."

The task force issued its initial report in March 1990 and a subsequent follow-up document was released in November 1993 enumerating recommendations and actions taken.