UPD gives performance presentation at Staff Council meeting

At the Oct. 5 meeting of Staff Council, University Police Department leadership gave a presentation on police performance for last year. Police Chief Brad Munn said UPD focuses on community policing.

“Last year we had over 20 different presentations that we did along those lines between active shooter, [Rape Aggression Defense training and] personal safety,” Munn said. “We had 12,420 calls for service last year, which is a pretty good amount for our department and it’s increased.”

Outside of presentations, Munn told Staff Council that UPD officers also assist with car troubles.

“Some of the community things that we do: we provided 57 vehicle unlocks which saved students money, 59 jumpstarts and we also did 46 safety escorts,” Munn said. “We were at 144 welfare checks and we responded to 19 suicide threats or attempts last year on campus.”

Maintenance calls account for a large portion of UPD call volume.

“We handled 636 maintenance calls,” Munn said. “So we average about two maintenance calls every day because the maintenance staff people go home at a certain time and all their calls are forwarded to my dispatch to handle any late night, after hours, weekends, holiday maintenance calls.”

Staff Council member, Krystal Offord, had concerns about UPD targeting increased crime with a smaller department.

Photo credit: Cheyenne Mathews
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“Bringing it down to our campus, how are you guys funded and how are they going to meet this more demand of crime?” Offord asked at the meeting.

Like many departments at UAA, UPD has a smaller budget this year.

“Our budget was actually decreased… When our budget got tight, there’s just certain areas you don’t mess with, and police, fire and things like that are one of those because those are essential services,” Munn said.

Lieutenant Michael Beckner said he is seeing crime on campus continue to increase.

“This year, we’ve only been in school for about a month, but the first month we are up 31 percent in call volume,” Beckner said at the beginning of the month. “Vehicle thefts are continuing to rise, you know we are in Anchorage. We had 12 [vehicle thefts] last year and we’re up to five right now, and that’s attempted also.”

Munn also said several positive initiatives he has implemented are benefiting the university, including the UPD procedure to have officers wear body cameras.

“You’ll see the body cams on the officers. I’m not wearing mine, but all the officers wear body cams. We’ve been wearing them since [2013],” Munn said. “We were probably one of the first agencies in Alaska to fully outfit all the officers with them. And that was a program I pushed for liability reasons. The officers here — there’s only so many of us — a lot of the time we work alone on calls and a lot of the time we’re in the dorms. And we’re in situations where it’s nice to have that little thing on your shoulder recording everything that’s going on.”

Other initiatives that Munn reported successful outcomes from were the silent witness program, where people can report crimes anonymously, and the use of the state-supported electronic accident program to decrease time spent on paperwork.