HUPD Dept. Focuses on Investigations

News Feature

The new-look Harvard University Policy Department (HUPD) has been re-cast in recent months as the student-friendly arm of the University.

But at the HUPD, policing is about stopping crime.

Last spring, an undercover police officer posed as the friend of a student during a more than six weeklong investigation into alleged drug trafficking on campus.

The result was the arrest last April of two Currier House students, both members of the Class of 1996. This fall, the two students pleaded guilty on charges of drug possession.

In recent years, the HUPD has also investigated cases ranging from jewel thefts to the mutilation of library books. In the search for the "Widener slasher," police installed surveillance cameras in hollowed-out books.

At the heart of these policing efforts is the HUPD's Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Lodged in the basement of the HUPD's 29 Garden St. headquarters, the CID is the little-known investigation branch of the university police.

CID detectives routinely research a variety of crimes, but much of the casework involves incidents of petty theft or grand larceny.

In the past year, however, the results of the CID's undercover investigation into drug trafficking have led some members of the Harvard community to question how far the CID should go when investigating students.

Undercover

Controversy over the rights of students who are the subject of undercover investigation began last spring when the HUPD arrested then Currier House seniors William A. Blankenship and Stephen V. David on drug charges

David's lawyer Eliot Weinstein told The Crimson last spring, "It's my view that the Harvard police illegally searched David's room."

Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 says in an e-mail message that the rooming contract signed by all students allows for routine property inspections by College officials.

The Handbook for Students does not address the issue of student privacy or police searches of student's rooms.

"Police are much more limited in their ability to search student rooms," Lewis says.