Undue use-of-force shows TUPD’s power must be restricted


Tulane President Michael Fitts recently sent out an email to the student body addressing multiple anonymous complaints made against the Tulane University Police Department which allege the use of unnecessary force by its officers, namely against people not affiliated with the university. As these complaints have surfaced, TUPD Chief Joey Bishop has resigned from his position, and several other officials have either resigned or been let go by the university. While Bishop’s removal signals the administration’s willingness to make change, it does not remedy all of the problems within the current TUPD.

The corruption of TUPD is thorough, and it’s difficult to tell whether it begins at the top or the bottom. Tulane officers harassing and beating students would be despicable enough. The fact that the beatings occurred off-campus and happened to people not affiliated with the university shows that TUPD officers have been given far too much off-campus reach, and their power needs to be restricted.

TUPD serves a valuable function. Along with Tulane Emergency Medical Services, it helps lessen the overuse of city resources on Tulane’s campus by preventing the New Orleans Police Department from having to frequently travel to the campus to apprehend students for what are typically minor infractions. Campus policing is not exactly a high stakes game, which makes it all the more concerning that one of the most serious crimes to occur around Tulane’s campus recently was committed by a TUPD officer.

While searching for a burglary suspect, TUPD officer Ja’Ronne Carter attacked a man who, according to the officer with him at the time, had stopped running and was not resisting. Carter picked up the man and threw him on the pavement. It was later revealed the man he attacked had actually been the victim of the burglary. Not only was Carter not removed from his position, but after he was found to be out of compliance, former Chief Bishop personally ordered the records to be altered so it would appear that he had been found to be in compliance.

This kind of deep-seated corruption does not go away just by getting rid of a few people. Yes, the removal or resignation of those members of TUPD was a step in the right direction, but that will not fix everything. The most corrupt institutions are the ones allowed the most power. If the university wants to get TUPD under control, it needs to take action to get TUPD under control.

As mentioned earlier, having TUPD on campus helps divert some public resources back to the city. There is little point, however, in having TUPD officers off campus. Tulane, Loyola and surrounding areas are covered by District 2 of the NOPD. NOPD already has the job of patrolling the streets surrounding the campus. Having campus officers patrol areas that are not on the campus wastes the university’s time and money.

The power of TUPD has long been unchecked and out of control, allowing it to reach this point. If Tulane wishes to keep TUPD, it must police its officers, starting by limiting TUPD’s off-campus presence. After all, we do not need TUPD officers off-campus harassing and beating people. That’s what real cops are for.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Shea is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected].

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