Following a campaign goal, Students’ Association President Eric Erickson established so-called “UPD Oversight Committee” at the March 31 Students’ Association meeting.
Erickson said that in his first two years with the SA Senate, he heard students complaining about the University Police Department, and the five-member board is intended to address those problems.
“The main reason we have this committee is so those concerns are brought out,” he said.
He said he hopes that along the way, the body will be able to dispel myths that develop about how the UPD does its job.
“We see the biggest thing of the UPD is to protect and serve,” he said. “We’re looking … to make sure that’s what they’re focusing on is protecting and serving.”
However, Erickson’s committee has left some confusion with the body it is supposed to oversee.
UPD Chief Tim Heaton, who said Erickson had not directly contacted him regarding the new committee, said he thought that listening to complaints about UPD was part of the SA’s job even without a committee.
“That’s what they’re supposed to do anyway,” Heaton said. “It’s what the SA has always done.”
As for the specific committee, Heaton expressed some confusion at the name Erickson chose to use.
“I don’t know what he’s trying to get at by calling it the UPD Oversight Committee,” the chief said.
Erickson emphasized that the committee will not have any direct control, but will rather act as an advisory body, sending reports to administrators.
“Our administration is really great as far as working with students to see if there’s a problem,” he said.
Any complaints can be directed to Erickson at the SA office.