Posted: June 4, 2020
The recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers has outright disgusted me.
For the last week and a half, I have been frustrated, angry, outraged and, at times, questioned why I serve in the capacity I do—as a police officer and a police chief. I have felt like this is all a very bad dream and can only imagine that many of these emotions are all too familiar for many of our Nevada System of Higher Education Community (NSHE).
The realities of current and past events are very much a part of our society. I believe our community deserves to know and to understand the following about myself and the officers who serve our department – your University Police Services:
- I sympathize and understand the anger and outrage from our community over the continued behavior of bad law enforcement officers and their abhorrent actions that have happened throughout the last several years.
- Without a doubt, officers in this community and as part of this department, are outraged by the recent cruel and repulsive actions of Minneapolis police officers. All involved, including anyone who stood around and did nothing, should be brought to justice.
- Unanimously, as University Police Services, we believe officers who engage in or fail to report unethical behavior, should be held accountable. To include criminal prosecution. We continue, even today and after the events in Minneapolis, to see bad law enforcement actions and the consequences of them.
I know our department has made mistakes. I know we let our community down in the past. This damaged many of our relationships, especially with our underrepresented groups and minority populations. Since the incidents that took place in 2017, we not only vowed to be better, but we’ve put in the work to grow and to learn. We have continued to build trust and to make friends through tough dialogue and engaged community service—all while protecting our NSHE campuses. This will continue.
I know the relationships we strive for are once again strained. While frustrated, I can see why. As a result, we will continue to put in the work. Our doors are open. We are always striving for better.
Over the past several days, our police officers have protected the community while bad actors caused havoc in downtown Reno, damaging City Hall, the Reno Police Department and small private businesses just starting to re-open after a national pandemic closed their doors. Our officers were spat at, had rocks thrown at them, and had profanities continuously yelled at them. Rest assured they all held their composure, showed compassion and did their jobs the right way.
Your University Police Services officers pride themselves in their ability to truly be community-oriented. They have marched with Black Lives Matter and other movements in prior peaceful demonstrations and stood by our community who wanted to and deserved to be heard this last weekend. Our officers made every effort to protect our community while they peacefully demonstrated, blocking traffic and closing streets – so all could march and demonstrate freely. They then quickly pivoted to protecting others, themselves, and property.
I have made and will continue to ensure this commitment to administration, student groups, faculty and staff and, frankly, anyone who will listen to me:
I will continue to make myself and University Police Services available to any student leaders, student clubs and organizations, all students, faculty and staff. University Police Services will continue to build relationships with openness, cooperation, compassion and work to problem solve. I promise.
I believe in the work that we do, in the NSHE community and, more than ever, in the strength and resiliency of our community.
This is why I continue to be a chief of police. Your Chief.
Assistant Vice President and Chief of Police
University Police Services