Conference cost U Police an estimated $200,000

by Robert Koch

Officers working 12-hour shifts, student security monitors called in from summer break, and vehicle checkpoints in place as early as July 7 cost the University Police approximately $200,000.
That was the monetary toll to the department from the six-day animal-genetics conference that concluded July 26, said Police Chief George Aylward on Monday.
“Even though we had a low profile, we had an increased presence on campus beginning on July 7,” Aylward said. “Our concern was with some of the things that have occurred in the past — acts of vandalism and destruction.”
He referred to the break-ins at two University animal-research labs in April 1999 that set laboratory animals free, destroyed equipment and cost the University an estimated $3.5 million. Aylward also cited arsons that destroyed a genetics-research facility at Michigan State University earlier this year.
Despite fears, only minor incidents occurred on or near campus during the conference. Graffiti taggers sprayed “Destroy Bio Tech” outside a Stadium Village plasma-donor center. And four people were arrested and released after police found them carrying climbing ropes in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.
In the end, police and student security monitors worked long hours but encountered few problems.
Overtime pay aside, early preparations figured greatly in the $200,000 bill, Aylward explained. Although the conference proper began July 21, some researchers met as early as July 10. That meant checkpoints and restricted access to the St. Paul campus beginning July 7.
Student security monitors played a large role in the beefed-up security. About 50 monitors worked during the conference, Aylward said. Some were called in from summer break and worked as many hours as they wished, patrolling buildings and grounds and manning checkpoints.
Ernest Rogers was one of the monitors who worked overtime. Late afternoon on July 22, the marketing senior left his post at the intersection of Gortner and Buford avenues on the St. Paul campus after working an 18-hour shift. Fellow St. Paul campus monitor Hyun-woo Park finished a 9-hour shift.
And officers had no days off during the conference.
However, unlike their downtown counterparts who also put in overtime, University Police did not invest in extra equipment, Aylward said. The Minneapolis Police Department reportedly spent more than $300,000 in overtime and equipment.

Robert Koch covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected].