USG VP calls out campus police

Jonny Moran, Executive Editor

USG Executive Vice President Emily Leminger confronted University Police Chief Peter Carey at a senate meeting Tuesday over concerns that UPD prioritizes minor traffic infractions above more serious crime.

She also complained that officers do not always follow the traffic laws themselves. Leminger said that while driving on the Scajaquada Expressway, she saw a UPD officer speeding on Iroquois Drive.

“The Scajaquada is adjacent to Iroquois, so you can watch people driving down Iroquois,” Leminger told Carey. “I saw an officer matching my speed. So he was going at least 50 on a 25 mile per hour road.”

Leminger said she called UPD’s office with the number of the police vehicle and left a complaint with the department secretary, but never received a callback.

“It really bothers me that officers can speed and put themselves above the law, but if a student is going 10 miles over or six miles over, it’s a huge issue,” Leminger continued, “but they’re matching my speed when my speed is 50-55 miles per hour on the Thruway, and that’s a huge concern to me, especially when I didn’t get a call back.”

Carey responded that he wasn’t aware of the complaint, but that the matter would be investigated and proper action would be taken if the officer were speeding unlawfully.

Leminger said UPD’s lack of response to her complaint especially bothered her when she saw how diligently officers ticketed cars following the recent attempted strong-arm robbery on campus.

“I watched one officer, I think it was the same officer [who I saw speeding], give four parking tickets in one sitting at the beginning of Bengal Pause today,” Leminger said. “I watched him wait for the meter to expire as I was going to class. And I think that it’s more important that our officers are more focused on safety than parking tickets when a student just got robbed, or [almost] got robbed, in the Birchfield parking lot.”

Carey told Leminger that issuing parking tickets is simply a part of UPD’s job.

“It’s part of what we do here,” Carey said. “Despite that, crime is going to take place.”

Carey said UPD does its best to prevent and respond to crime with the resources they have. He said that while issuing parking tickets is no boon to UPD’s relations with the public, parking violations can’t be ignored.

“Parking is part of what Buff State is and parking is part of what we do,” Carey said. “So to be fair, somebody has to report parking or else nobody else will do it. It is part of our job, and it’s a part of our job that brings us all kind of bitter feelings with our community.”

Still, Carey said, compliance with parking and permit violations this year have been better than usual.

“Parking tickets and enforcement have dropped each year over the last few years, but it still serves us a public relations problem,” Carey said.

In 2007, The Record conducted a study and found that officers were just as likely to write tickets to those with permits as those without.

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Twitter: @kathyfromsales