News

Amid Boston Overdose Crisis, a Pair of Harvard Students Are Bringing Narcan to the Red Line

News

At First Cambridge City Council Election Forum, Candidates Clash Over Building Emissions

News

Harvard’s Updated Sustainability Plan Garners Optimistic Responses from Student Climate Activists

News

‘Sunroof’ Singer Nicky Youre Lights Up Harvard Yard at Crimson Jam

News

‘The Architect of the Whole Plan’: Harvard Law Graduate Ken Chesebro’s Path to Jan. 6

HUPD Announces Major Restructuring

All lieutenants fired as part of reform plan

By Marc J. Ambinder, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

Ushering in a new era for policing and security on campus, the University announced yesterday it will completely restructure the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) to implement one of the nation's first campus-based community policing initiatives.

In one of the first stages of the reforms, the department's seven lieutenants--its top-level police supervisors--were fired yesterday.

The massive departmental changes, which Harvard officials have hinted at for months, include the hiring of new administrators and the adding of more than a dozen new officers to patrol the campus.

In interviews yesterday, University Vice President and General Counsel Anne Taylor and HUPD Chief Francis D. "Bud" Riley said the change in the department's organization was long overdue.

"My job is to make sure Bud has the tools he needs to do his job," Taylor said.

The restructuring comes in the wake of an extensive audit of the HUPD by nationally known community policing scholar George L. Kelling, a research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and a professor of criminal justice at Rutgers.

During the course of his investigation, Kelling said he found a department confused by "double messages going to line officers about what their priorities should be and how they should patrol."

His 50-page report--compiled after interviews with patrol officers, sergeants, administrators and top department personnel--reveals a department fraught with tension between Riley and many of his veteran lieutenants.

Kelling termed it a "struggle for control" that has shaped HUPD policy and hindered its progression into a modern crime prevention and crime-fighting force.

Investigating complaints that Riley was an insensitive, out-of-touch chief and accusations that some of Riley's lieutenants tried to undermine the chief's authority, the report concludes that complaints about the chief stemmed from the struggle for control.

At the end, it provides bullet-point recommendations to change the HUPD "from a reactive law enforcement model...to a community, team-policing model."

The biggest of the recommendations endorsesRiley's goal as department chief: to make HUPD amodel of community policing, which emphasizessmall-scale problem-solving (such as fixing abroken window or knowing the character of theneighborhood) instead of focusing solely on crime.

"The chief wanted to go in the direction thatwas wanted by the University and...basically metwith broad approval throughout the Harvardcommunity," Kelling said.

But institutional factors like a top-heavycommand staff prevented the implementation ofRiley's plan.

Now, acting on Kelling's recommendations, therank of lieutenant is being eliminated and moresenior sergeants and patrol officers will be addedto the beat.

"Community policing forces us to [reallocateresources] both downward and outward," Taylor saidof the changes.

When Riley first became chief in 1997, he said,"we tried to find creative ways of changing thedepartment."

Riley said he redefined the lieutenants'positions by giving them autonomy during specificpatrol shifts.

From several of the lieutenants, Riley said, heencountered resistance to his assessment of howthe department should be run.

Internal Affairs

And according to Kelling's study, thatresistance was not limited to the upper echelonsof the HUPD.

Trained with officers bound for L.A. and NewYork, HUPD cops fresh out of police academies wereoften frustrated with the nature of campus lawenforcement.

The tension between HUPD veterans attached tomore aggressive policing methods and Riley'sdesire for community policing has rankled thedepartment in the past several years, according toKelling.

Those veterans comprise a quarter to a third ofthe officers and much of the ranks of thedepartment's middle management, Kelling's reportsays.

Additionally, Kelling concluded, severalcurrent officers who were hired during the tenureof former HUPD chief Paul Johnson are "insecure intheir police roles" because of HUPD's status as acollege police agency and the officers' officialassociation with the University's civiliansecurity guards.

Further separating them from their big-citycounterparts, a decline in campus crime and theunusual nature of campus policing has left manyenthusiastic officers without much professionalpolicing to do.

"Again and again, I have ridden with officerswho literally ache for a `good' call," Kellingwrote in his report.

Another source of poor morale for officers isRiley's insistence that HUPD officers not involvethemselves in crime-fighting situations outsideHarvard's jurisdiction, with the exception ofcases immediately threatening life or property.

Since Harvard borders high-crime areas likeCambridge Common and the Square, the temptationsfor off-campus policing are great for HUPDofficers.

Recently, Cambridge Police Department officershave complained that HUPD officers are encroachingon city territory--violating state jurisdictionallaws and Riley's internal regulations.

A Day in the Life

In addition to pinpointing problems, the reportalso offers a revealing look at the day-to-dayoperations of the department and staunchly--and attimes humorously--defends Riley.

Officers told Kelling that the chief ignoreshis staff and does not gather their input on keypolicing decisions.

The criticism "must be taken seriously,"Kelling's report says, but concludes "it is acomplicated problem."

Noting that "Riley is not inaccessible," Kellinglocates the root of the problem at theinstitutional tensions between the chief and hiscommand staff.

Additionally, "[o]ne of Chief Riley's vagariesis that he tends at times to be preoccupied and doseveral things at the same time," Kelling wrote."At times, he doesn't follow through withanything."

Kelling's recommendations include that Rileyhire a staff assistant and "that he spend moretime `on the ground' with officers."

The report further backs Riley, concluding thatcharges of favoritism leveled against him areuntrue and stem from the department's small sizeand history of internal quarrels.

And the charge that Riley is humorless is alsofound to be baseless in Kelling's study. "ChiefRiley regularly comments about the world andevents with a Jack Benny-like droll humor that, ifone listens carefully, is self-mocking....He is abit of a character," the report states.

10-4 for the Future

As apparent in yesterday's staff cuts, many ofthe report's recommendations have already begun tobe implemented.

Still, the report does not offer such concretesolutions for at least one major controversy: thefuture of Harvard's security guard force.

While it recommends that the guards be fullyintegrated into the force's policing plan, thereport does not outline an agenda for doing sosuccessfully.

Other goals--like training all officers incommunity policing programs, teaming officerstogether so that they gain familiarity with aspecific area of the campus, and creating seniorstaff sergeant positions--are in the works for thefall, HUPD and administration officials said.

"We plan to put into practice each and everyone of George's recommendations," Riley said.

There may be an immediate backlash, however.

University officials acknowledged thatyesterday's firing of the lieutenants was abrupt,although they stress that generous severancepackages were offered, and that the University hasoffered to assist them in finding new work.

Moreover, the younger department officers eagerfor traditional police work may also be "upset,"Kelling said.

"In the long haul, officers are going to findthat working in an organization in which there isone clear sense of what the mission [will maketheir jobs] more pleasant," he said

The biggest of the recommendations endorsesRiley's goal as department chief: to make HUPD amodel of community policing, which emphasizessmall-scale problem-solving (such as fixing abroken window or knowing the character of theneighborhood) instead of focusing solely on crime.

"The chief wanted to go in the direction thatwas wanted by the University and...basically metwith broad approval throughout the Harvardcommunity," Kelling said.

But institutional factors like a top-heavycommand staff prevented the implementation ofRiley's plan.

Now, acting on Kelling's recommendations, therank of lieutenant is being eliminated and moresenior sergeants and patrol officers will be addedto the beat.

"Community policing forces us to [reallocateresources] both downward and outward," Taylor saidof the changes.

When Riley first became chief in 1997, he said,"we tried to find creative ways of changing thedepartment."

Riley said he redefined the lieutenants'positions by giving them autonomy during specificpatrol shifts.

From several of the lieutenants, Riley said, heencountered resistance to his assessment of howthe department should be run.

Internal Affairs

And according to Kelling's study, thatresistance was not limited to the upper echelonsof the HUPD.

Trained with officers bound for L.A. and NewYork, HUPD cops fresh out of police academies wereoften frustrated with the nature of campus lawenforcement.

The tension between HUPD veterans attached tomore aggressive policing methods and Riley'sdesire for community policing has rankled thedepartment in the past several years, according toKelling.

Those veterans comprise a quarter to a third ofthe officers and much of the ranks of thedepartment's middle management, Kelling's reportsays.

Additionally, Kelling concluded, severalcurrent officers who were hired during the tenureof former HUPD chief Paul Johnson are "insecure intheir police roles" because of HUPD's status as acollege police agency and the officers' officialassociation with the University's civiliansecurity guards.

Further separating them from their big-citycounterparts, a decline in campus crime and theunusual nature of campus policing has left manyenthusiastic officers without much professionalpolicing to do.

"Again and again, I have ridden with officerswho literally ache for a `good' call," Kellingwrote in his report.

Another source of poor morale for officers isRiley's insistence that HUPD officers not involvethemselves in crime-fighting situations outsideHarvard's jurisdiction, with the exception ofcases immediately threatening life or property.

Since Harvard borders high-crime areas likeCambridge Common and the Square, the temptationsfor off-campus policing are great for HUPDofficers.

Recently, Cambridge Police Department officershave complained that HUPD officers are encroachingon city territory--violating state jurisdictionallaws and Riley's internal regulations.

A Day in the Life

In addition to pinpointing problems, the reportalso offers a revealing look at the day-to-dayoperations of the department and staunchly--and attimes humorously--defends Riley.

Officers told Kelling that the chief ignoreshis staff and does not gather their input on keypolicing decisions.

The criticism "must be taken seriously,"Kelling's report says, but concludes "it is acomplicated problem."

Noting that "Riley is not inaccessible," Kellinglocates the root of the problem at theinstitutional tensions between the chief and hiscommand staff.

Additionally, "[o]ne of Chief Riley's vagariesis that he tends at times to be preoccupied and doseveral things at the same time," Kelling wrote."At times, he doesn't follow through withanything."

Kelling's recommendations include that Rileyhire a staff assistant and "that he spend moretime `on the ground' with officers."

The report further backs Riley, concluding thatcharges of favoritism leveled against him areuntrue and stem from the department's small sizeand history of internal quarrels.

And the charge that Riley is humorless is alsofound to be baseless in Kelling's study. "ChiefRiley regularly comments about the world andevents with a Jack Benny-like droll humor that, ifone listens carefully, is self-mocking....He is abit of a character," the report states.

10-4 for the Future

As apparent in yesterday's staff cuts, many ofthe report's recommendations have already begun tobe implemented.

Still, the report does not offer such concretesolutions for at least one major controversy: thefuture of Harvard's security guard force.

While it recommends that the guards be fullyintegrated into the force's policing plan, thereport does not outline an agenda for doing sosuccessfully.

Other goals--like training all officers incommunity policing programs, teaming officerstogether so that they gain familiarity with aspecific area of the campus, and creating seniorstaff sergeant positions--are in the works for thefall, HUPD and administration officials said.

"We plan to put into practice each and everyone of George's recommendations," Riley said.

There may be an immediate backlash, however.

University officials acknowledged thatyesterday's firing of the lieutenants was abrupt,although they stress that generous severancepackages were offered, and that the University hasoffered to assist them in finding new work.

Moreover, the younger department officers eagerfor traditional police work may also be "upset,"Kelling said.

"In the long haul, officers are going to findthat working in an organization in which there isone clear sense of what the mission [will maketheir jobs] more pleasant," he said

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags