Old Dominion Univ. Says It’s Taking Action After Officer’s Complaints

Old Dominion University assured University police they were addressing concerns after members of the police department outlined obstacles they face when trying to keep the campus safe.

Old Dominion University responded to university police concerns by assuring them that the school is taking steps to improve the officer’s work environment.

In a letter to University police, ODU Chief Operating Officer David Harnage says the school is addressing police concerns about salaries, staffing issues and the school’s sometimes ambiguous relationship with city police, according to pilotonline.com.

Those concerns were made public when the Pilot published letters written by three officers to school administration that describe problems they face while trying to keep the Virginia university’s campus safe.

Officers say 23 of the department’s 56 positions were open, and only 18 officers hold the responsibility of patrolling the entire campus. ODU had over 24,000 students enrolled in 2012. Police union officials say those staffing levels force some police to work 16 to 18 hour shifts frequently.

Harnage says the department recently hired six officers and is recruiting seven more. The school is also comparing ODU police pay with other departments, and that the school is working with the city on a “memorandum of understanding” to improve how Norfolk police and school police work together. Harnage also defends some of the school’s current policies, noting the University also has to be sure to comply with Title IX and the Clery Act.

John Sandhofer, president of ODU’s chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police, says he’s proposed meetings with the ODU president and Harnage this school year.

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