Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fired UTMB police chief still drawing a paycheck

At Texas Watchdog, Steve Miller has an excellent report on a UTMB Police Chief Charles Brown, who was fired in February but who continues to be paid by the university - more than $7K per month.

I can't find any public report stating the reason for Mr. Brown's "firing," if you can call it that when he's still getting paid, though he was asked to gather his belongings and sent home before a new, interim chief was appointed.

Miller also pointed out a report I hadn't seen regarding three other UT-System police chiefs fired last year. From Campus Safety magazine ("Three police chief dismissals trigger UT department review," 9/1/09):
After the dismissal of three campus police chiefs in one year, the University of Texas (UT) System will create a special panel to review operations at all UT campus police departments, according to

In July, David Hernandez resigned from his position at UT-San Antonio following allegations of sexual harassment. UT-Dallas’ police chief, Colleen Ridge, stepped down from her position after officials investigated complaints that Ridge was using her state-leased Honda Pilot to run personal errands. Last September, Howard Miller was fired as police chief at UT-Pan American. The details of his termination have not been made public.

Additionally, officials for the UT System have noticed “operational irregularities” in its departments.

Lately Grits has called into question the quality of supervision at peripheral departments like campus police, and UT firing four of its 14 campus police chiefs within a year's time contributes to that impression. I know our friend "College Cop" will arrive in the comment section soon to let us know we shouldn't draw conclusions from an isolated incident, or from four isolated incidents, or whatever, but it's a recurring theme that the supervisory talent pool among law enforcement just isn't deep enough for 2,500+ agencies across Texas. Too often, as in this instance, campus police departments operate in clubby environments with less professionalism or internal accountability than one generally sees at municipal PDs and Sheriffs.


Anonymous said...

"UT-Dallas’ police chief, Colleen Ridge, stepped down from her position after officials investigated complaints that Ridge was using her state-leased Honda Pilot to run personal errands."

Wow, how many state issued vehicles for the various state agencies we have here in Texas are doing the same? How many of these vehicles are provided on a take home basis?

I have said all along this is one area where budget fat can be trimmed. And no more take home cars.

I live near a TABC agent who commutes thru three counties, one way, 30 miles to Longview every morning in a state issued vehicle. What's the difference here? That's a lot of taxpayer expense just to provide an employee with a way to work and home.

Just one of many examples that are out there!

Anonymous said...

I get a kick out of UT campus police officers describing how they are state police.

Anonymous said...

As a Lawyer who has to deal with both Texas State and UT Campus Cops all I can say is "What a Joke". These guys are mostly all wantabees. What I really love is the fact is that they "support" local police by writing tickets on streets that they have jurisdiction on (ie ones that touch their campus) even if the stop is miles from campus. As far as the Dirty Chiefs go..remeber Chief Mc Kenney at SWTSU he served time in CLub Fed. What we really need is one large state police force like they have in Australia.

College Cop said...

I'll simply quote Bruce Schneier and say that "our brains are hardwired to accept anecdotes over data". Especially when those anecdotes confirm an ill concieved pre-hld bias. This is of course another example of such.

One only needs to look at recent "shake-ups" at big city departments (like what just happened with Fort Worth) or the history of revolving Chiefs at other agencies (I'm sure Dallas' ex-Chief Bolton was a pure STAR right?) to see that 3 campus police chiefs (out of 14 in the UT system) being dismissed is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

How many of those 3 former campus police chiefs are facing federal charges? Like the Starr County Sheriff, the Refugio Police Chief, the Sullivan City police chief, or like the Bexar county sheriff 3 years ago ect ect ect.

I have attemped to explain (in vain) the different nature of police supervision at institutions like schools and college, compared to police supervision. If you look up the various national police "span of control" studies, you will learn that Campus Police benifit greatly from much shorter spans (ie campus police supervisors supervise fewer people, in much less "autonomous" situations).

The nature of campus policing (ie non-civil service, tighter span of control, stronger civilian over-sight) would suggest something that you would be in favor of over the over-protected (and very well paid) territorial bureaucracies. I don't quite understand the nature of the opposistion.

Anonymous said...

don't be too surprised by brown still being paid. UT director of police john slettebo was fired and is still on payroll as a "special assistant" to his vice chancellor who was also fired.