The University of Oregon Police Department named a new chief last week. Here are five things about Matthew Carmichael you need to know.
He starts on September 12, 2016
After three months of open external searching, the 12-member committee made its decision on hiring the current UC Davis police chief, Matthew Carmichael. His 28-page resume stood out the most out of the final three candidates, Andre Le Duc, assistant vice president of UO’s Risk Management told the Emerald. His last day at UC Davis was Sept. 1.
University of Oregon is Carmichael’s first out-of-state job
An undergraduate at Union Institute and University, Sacramento Center; Napa Valley College, Napa and California State University, Sacramento, Carmichael has a long track record in California. His first job was at the Police Department in Pinole, California, where he got to work with “amazing law enforcement professionals who served as role models and mentors.” In 2002, the Vallejo native joined the UC Davis force. He became the police chief in 2011, after the infamous pepper spray incident happened on campus.
He took over UC Davis after the pepper spray incident
In 2011, a group of UC Davis students held a peaceful protest against a tuition increase. The students, who were part of the Occupy Wall Street movement on campus, occupied the quad on campus. The police force was at the scene, trying to retain the violence, until a police officer doused a row of students in orange pepper spray. The incident made national headlines and put UC Davis police under scrutiny. The police chief at the time, Annette Spicuzza, was immediately put on administrative leave – Carmichael started to act as interim police chief and later gained the permanent position in 2012. Coming into the job, Carmichael admitted “it was not easy” as the relationship between police and the community was at an “all time low.”
Carmichael is a 30-year veteran in law enforcement
Serving as police chief for the campus of more than 42,000 people and 8,000 students living on campus, Carmichael takes on the responsibility to keep the community safe and connected. In the last four years at UC Davis, he initiated several programs that were welcomed warmly on campus.
UC Davis’ SafeRides is a 24/7 service, operated by UC Davis security officers via a mobile application, for any students who prefer an alternative to walking at night. He started Cadet Academy — a scholarship program for seniors and graduates at UC Davis who are interested in law enforcement, forensics and criminology. He also implemented the first mass shooting preparedness plan, a K-9 program at UC Davis as well as the Student Advisory Council.
He has got a lot to catch up with
UOPD has a history of instability – the most recent example was the sudden departure of the last UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed in March. She was the third chief in a row to leave the department suddenly, the Emerald reported. The UOPD has not had a permanent chief finish his or her contract in a decade. UOPD was also taken to court last year over the wrongful termination of a former police officer.
According to current UOPD officer Adam Lillengreen, UOPD is understaffed with 11 officers rotating shifts to keep campus with the population of 24,000 safe. “The challenges we faced over the last five years [at UC Davis] have truly prepared me for taking on the role of police chief at a new organization such as the University of Oregon Police Department,” Carmichael wrote in his cover letter.