UI police chief a finalist for UConn job

UI police chief a finalist for UConn job

CHAMPAIGN — University of Illinois Police Chief Barbara R. O'Connor is a finalist for a similar position at the University of Connecticut.

O'Connor, who was hired by the UI in 2008 as chief and executive director of public safety, confirmed Friday that she is being considered for the job at UConn, where Chief Robert Hudd is retiring. O'Connor is scheduled to visit UConn in the next week or two for an interview.

"I really love my job at the University of Illinois," O'Connor said. "There are a lot of great reasons to stay, especially with the new chancellor (Phyllis Wise). I have a lot of admiration and respect for her.

"The position at UConn is the only position I would ever consider leaving Illinois for."

UConn's chief/director of public safety oversees police, fire and ambulance services for the main campus at Storrs, five regional campuses, the law school and medical center, O'Connor said. In all, 90 police officers report to the chief.

O'Connor said Hudd was a mentor when she was a young police chief at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

"He provided me with a lot of wise counsel, and he's done a great job there," she said.

O'Connor also has extended family on the East Coast.

"Certainly to be closer to home is an added benefit," she said.

O'Connor said she had joked with UI President Michael Hogan when he was hired from UConn in 2010 that Hudd's job was the only one she'd consider taking.

UConn President Susan Herbst said last month the search for a new police chief had been narrowed down to a few finalists.

At the UI, O'Connor succeeded Oliver J. Clark, who retired in 2005, and two interim UI chiefs, Kris Fitzpatrick and Jeff Christensen. Previously, she had been police chief at the Amherst campus since 2001.

She earned a law degree from the Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, Mass., and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Westfield State College in 1985. She also holds a master's in labor studies, with research in police misconduct and collective bargaining, from UMass Amherst.

During her tenure at the UI, the department has grown from 55 officers to 66, with help from a federal grant that was awarded to only three U.S. universities.

The campus also has installed a new centralized security camera system that O'Connor said has "enhanced safety significantly." Her officers use it in almost every case and have a much higher clearance rate on solving crimes, she said.

"When I got here there was no thought about any coordinated approach. We took a lead role," she said. "To get people to think about centralizing the security function was a significant cultural shift."

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Perjury wrote on December 02, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I was arrested by the University of Illinois Police Department for DUI.  They claimed that I refused to take a breath-test at the station after I took one at the side of the road that proved I drank no liquor.


Since I took the breath-test on the side of the road and that breath-test proved that I had consumed no alcohol, it was an unbelievable that I would then refuse to take the same test three hours later at the police station.   When they realized no one would believe this outrageous lie they changed the paperwork submitted to the Secretary of State claiming that I refused to submit to blood and urine testing and made no mention of the breath-test.  This contradicts the original police report which claimed that I refused to take a breath-test and would not submit to blood or urine tests despite the fact that I took the breath-test on the side of the road which proved I drank no alcohol.  


When I asked why they would not take me to the hospital, even though their own policy says that I should be taken to the hospital, they claimed that I refused to go to the hospital?  How does someone under arrest in handcuffs refuse to go anywhere?  They also refused to answer this simple question when I complained to the Chancellor’s Office   “Are you contending that I refused to take a breath-test even though by your own admission I took the test? When finally, via the Chancellor’s office they could not avoid the simple question anymore they admitted that their officer’s committed perjury .  I have all of this in writing. 


They admitted to perjury when questioned by me via the President’s office, but no one at University of Illinois cares that the police officer’s employed by the University committed perjury.

AerieDweller wrote on December 06, 2011 at 1:12 am

So...  how did your DUI case turn out?  You must have gotten all charges dismissed, right?


The breath test given on the street is not the same as the one required after a DUI arrest.  The one on the street is called a "preliminary breath test," while the "official" one requires that the arrestee be observed for an extended time period.  Even if you take the preliminary (street) breath test, you still have to submit to the official breath test after the observation period.


If you had no alcohol in your system on the preliminary test, but they thought you were impaired, it's obvious that they would suspect drugs (whether medication or illegal) to be causing the impairment.  That's why you would be asked to submit blood and urine for analysis.


But that probably doesn't matter, since all of the charges were probably dismissed, right?

CULater wrote on December 03, 2011 at 7:12 am

Obviously UConn is looking for a police chief that allows such crimes such as perjury to occur under her watch. The police have too much control with little oversight here in champaign Urbana. We are being treated like a police state. Police can pick you up and prod you until theyfind a reason to arrest you. They must be tired of dealing with drunken buffoons on green st. That the prospect of real police work has them itching their pepper spray triggers. It's time to overhaul campus security and the police department. We have allowed a boys club to develop within the department that makes it easier for them to get away with this behavior.