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Officer's firing was for 'contact'

Party incident at Assumption

By Jacqueline Reis Telegram & Gazette Staff
[email protected]

WORCESTER- An Assumption College campus police officer has been dismissed after he inappropriately put his hands on a student while breaking up a party, according to college officials.

Brad Holmes, director of public safety at Assumption, said the officer was hired in August and was still in his probationary period, although he had retired from a municipal police job in a town. Chief Holmes would not give the officer's name or the municipality where he previously worked.

After an initial investigation into the Jan. 23 incident at Assumption, the officer was put on paid administrative leave. After further investigation, Assumption dismissed him last month.

"We determined that he wasn't suited for this type of environment," Chief Holmes said. "Campus policing is a little bit different from municipal law enforcement. We're dealing with an age group (in which) people are spreading their wings and learning about a lot of life issues while on campus. They sometimes tend to push the envelope, and you really have to have a special disposition."

The incident occurred just after midnight on a Sunday morning during the nor'easter that dumped about two feet of snow in the city. Members of Assumption's Office of Residential Life asked campus police to help them investigate a party at Authier and Dufault halls after a staff member thought she saw someone urinate off a balcony, according to Conway C.S. Campbell, director of residential life.

The six-person dorm room was for seniors, and some of the students inside had been drinking, Chief Holmes said. Some felt they hadn't done anything to warrant the police intrusion and began arguing, at which point an officer made "inappropriate contact" with one of the room's residents, Chief Holmes said. The campus newspaper, Le Provocateur, reported one witness's account that the officer "grabbed (a student) by the neck and threw him up against a wall." The witness declined to comment to the Telegram & Gazette, and Chief Holmes said the officer's contact with the student was "in the upper chest area anyway."

Another student who witnessed the incident also did not want to comment. The student the officer allegedly touched did not return calls or an e-mail for comment.

The student was not injured, Chief Holmes said, but others who witnessed it complained immediately to a sergeant who was at the scene, and the sergeant made initial inquiries. Chief Holmes followed up on it later that day, he said. Police did not make any arrests at the party, which was attended by approximately 25 people, Mr. Campbell said.

Erin K. Ahearn, president of the Student Government Association at Assumption, said that "obviously it was out of line to touch" a student, and she was pleased with the way the Department of Public Safety had followed up on the incident. "They went through all of the appropriate actions and procedures to talk to students to find out what the true story was," she said. "This is a very isolated incident, and it's not something that we usually see from the public safety officers on campus."

Assumption has eight police officers, three sergeants, two lieutenants, a chief and several part-time officers who serve the campus population of approximately 1,950, according to Chief Holmes. The officers carry guns and have police powers equal to those of a municipal or state police officer while on campus, and many of them are former municipal officers. They must complete at least 40 hours of in-service training a year, which they typically do over the summer. This summer's offerings will include a course on "verbal judo" that addresses how to de-escalate situations and speak respectfully to people, Chief Holmes said.
 

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We don't know all the details of this incident, but I can imagine a bunch a drunk college students acting stupid. Probably mouthing off and saying you can't do this , do you know who my dad is? You may have to deal with a college student a little different, but they still have to be corporative with police and they still have to follow the rules.
 

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Ahhh summer is coming on Cape Cod, I'll get the little bastards while they are on vacation.
 

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[quote=";p="58312]
Erin K. Ahearn, president of the Student Government Association at Assumption, said that "obviously it was out of line to touch" a student...[/quote]

Obviously out of line to touch a student??? Yeah, God forbid.
 

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It's good to see that the administration agrees with the firing..............colleges are all the same students are GOD and the CPO's are there to serve them.
 

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I am aware that I am not familiar with the facts in this incident. I am not playing Monday morning quarterback nor am I bashing the police Chief. It concerns me when an police administrator says:

Quote taken from the newspaper article above.

“We determined that he wasn’t suited for this type of environment,” Chief Holmes said. “Campus policing is a little bit different from municipal law enforcement. We’re dealing with an age group (in which) people are spreading their wings and learning about a lot of life issues while on campus. They sometimes tend to push the envelope, and you really have to have a special disposition.”


What kind of lessons are we teaching this "age group of people who are spreading their wings". If these students were to get out of hand (urinating in and drinking in public) in the community, they would be dealt with and charged accordingly.

Students are being sent the wrong message and are being provided a disservice by being allowed to getting away with things in the protective "college environment bubble". When they are released into the communities, that's when they are introduced to reality.

So much for their 4 year $120,000+ education.
 

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What a joke!! These little AH's need to get their bell rung just once and thats all it takes. We have to deal with the same thing out here at USC (University of Southern Cal) or as we call it (University of South Central). We have to break up parties all the time (in riot gear) one good wack of the PR-24 and people starting calling you sir......its amazing.
 

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I have learned a valuable lesson in campus policing...STUDENTS = CASH!!!!!!!! That is all there is to it. More students means more money! Bastards!!
 

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Sounds like the guy who got fired was a retired municipal cop. It has got to be a really difficult transition from working as a town or city cop for ump-teen years to working for a place that ties your hands on how you've done your job for your entire career. These colonel of the SP needs to yank the powers from all of these college's that continuously second guess and punish their employees for acting like cops. You either have a Police Dept. or you have a security Dept. I want to throw up when I see these campus administration's that expect there campus cops to act like security 95% of the time and cops the other 5% when they (admin) want them to be. They put their officer's and students at risk, and it will probably take one of their own getting killed before they wake up and figure it out. What the hell are they so afraid of? Having a professional POLICE Dept. on a campus can only help the image of the college. I know that when I pick a college for my kids, I will not send them somewhere that does not have a legitimate Police force.
 

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topcop14";p="58312 said:
The officers carry guns and have police powers equal to those of a municipal or state police officer while on campus, and many of them are former municipal officers. They must complete at least 40 hours of in-service training a year, which they typically do over the summer. This summer's offerings will include a course on "verbal judo" that addresses how to de-escalate situations and speak respectfully to people, Chief Holmes said.
There are some schools where the students know how to push the adminstrations buttons. Bottom line is the officer was on probation and therefore, serving at the will of the college. I doubt there ever will be an objective investigation to substantiate the students "unnecessary roughness" call. He was simply let go cuz it was the easiest thing for the college to do. Also notice how the Chief is making his officers attend a "cover your ass" training how to "speak" to people
:roll:
 

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The Chief is a retired MSP Major and one of the Lieuts is a retired municipal police chief. They both seem like reasonable men who wouldn't fold at the first sign of controversy. I hate to side against the prevailing opinion, but what if the cop was wrong. Force gets used in legitimate arrests on campuses by the police against students often and no one gets fired.
 

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And as a follow-up to that Rockwell, you would think that the administration would advise new hires what is expected, i.e., "soft" approach to handling students vs. being "heavy-handed". As we all know, (some via the hard way), certain techniques used in the municipal world are not acceptable in the academic arena.
 

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Rockwell";p="58516 said:
The Chief is a retired MSP Major and one of the Lieuts is a retired municipal police chief. They both seem like reasonable men who wouldn't fold at the first sign of controversy. I hate to side against the prevailing opinion, but what if the cop was wrong. Force gets used in legitimate arrests on campuses by the police against students often and no one gets fired.
Big deal, they got their big pension and are now at the whim of the administration, making big $ to lay low and do the minimum. They have a nice pension and are making another $80K for a M-F gig that they have to do basically nothing. Also , just because he was an SP major doesn't make him a good manager. Majors are hacks that are appointed by the Colonel and although they might have some idea about certain things they have no clue on running a department, as they are not doing budgeting,writing grants,meeting with the community and even purchasing. The GHQ does all that mostly and these guys do nothing. They all look good on paper but are only hired to look good on the college's books. Just his dumb ass mentality of students and their experimentation period is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I used to work for a state college as a PO and the lesson these little shits learned when they spread their wings was the handcuffs,court and kicked out of school. That is reality and the schools should take a positive role in educating these kids so when they graduate and go out in the world they don't expect special rules to apply to them because they are college grads. The cop should have locked that kid up if he put his hand on him and I hope he follows up against the college with some legal action. :evil:
 

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Rockwell";p="58516 said:
The Chief is a retired MSP Major and ...one of the Lieuts is a retired municipal police chief. .
I haven't heard a single good thing about this guy....... but hey, what do I know?
 

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I agree with StingHornets:

What kind of lessons are we teaching this "age group of people who are spreading their wings". If these students were to get out of hand (urinating in and drinking in public) in the community, they would be dealt with and charged accordingly.

Students are being sent the wrong message and are being provided a disservice by being allowed to getting away with things in the protective "college environment bubble". When they are released into the communities, that's when they are introduced to reality.


I work at a state University so I know both sides that can happen. Obviously we don't know the entire story, but I can just imagine that some drunk idiot at this party made a stupid move and the cop put his hands out or made an attempt to stop the kid. It's stupid when the University wants to baby these kids... they are after all supossed to be learning to be adults, right? I'm sure we all face the same problems with the Admin, but why can't they let the police do their thing... all about numbers and politics.
 
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