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Posted on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

U-M announces name changes for departments in Division of Public Safety and Security

By Kyle Feldscher

The University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security has announced revised names for the departments it supervises.


University of Michigan Health System's University Hospital.

University of Michigan Health System file photo

Interim Executive Director Joe Piersante said the new names are as follows:

  • The University of Michigan Police Department replaces the Department of Public Safety.
  • Hospitals and Health Centers Security Services (HHCSS) replaces Hospital Security.
  • Housing Security and Safety Services (HSSS) replaced Housing Security
  • University Security Services is a new unit made up of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Security Systems and Technology Management, Art Museum security, Kelsey Museum security and contract security.

“We expect the revised names to help the university community better recognize the roles and responsibilities of the women and men in these departments,” Piersante said in a statement.

The departments are all under the Division of Public and Security umbrella, formed in the wake of the external review of the university’s handling of the Stephen Jenson case. Jenson is accused of having child pornography on a thumb drive in a University of Michigan Hospital laptop. There was a six-month delay between when a hospital employee noticed the alleged child porn and brought it to hospital officials and when police eventually were notified.

The Division of Public Safety and Security was announced in November 2012. The director of the division will report directly to university President Mary Sue Coleman.

Piersante is currently serving as police chief and interim executive director of the division. The permanent job of executive director is expected to be posted by late January.

New logos, uniform patches, vehicle markings and a new website are expected to come along with the change in branding, Piersante said.

“This will continue our efforts to help our university community know who we are when they need assistance,” he said.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

The new name changes will not fix the lack of communication. This "continued effort" seems like a smokescreen to the real problem that new logos, patches and vehicle markings will not fix. The Jenson case was delayed because the departments see each other as adversaries. Creating a new position, with a hefty salary I am sure, is an insult to the reader's intelligence.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

This is a step in the right direction but they also need to change the names used for security officers. If you call someone "Detective Seargent" it gives the impression that they are a police officer. Use titles like security officer or security supervisor, etc rather than the same titles as police officers. There have been times that security officers with police like titles have been assigned to work in the police department and perform duties such as interrogations. How in heck would a member of the public know that they are not police officers. Next step, the news media and the public need to demand that the report of the investigator needs to be made public. They did so at Penn State, why shouldn't the public know what went wrong at UM and who was responsible.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

If they handle it like PSU, someone big could lose a job. I'm not holding my breath.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

Mr. Feldscher, you're missing the word "Safety" in the first line of the third paragraph.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I think the name changes are to clarify to the public and employees the status of each of the divisions. There is only one UM Police Department. The other sections are security offices staffed by guards not police. If there is a crime, it is to be reported to the Police Department. That may help avoid the kind of confusion at the UM Hospital where citizens and employees confused the uniformed security guards with police. That was one of the problems with the Jenson case. The intern thought that she was notifying the police when instructed to notify Hospital Security.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Which one is the Ministry of Blimpy Burger Stealing?


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Bazinga! Nice one.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

The new departments will henceforth be named: -The Ministry of Truth -The Ministry of Peace -The Ministry of Plenty -The Ministry of Love To more accurately reflect their roles in our town.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

This is a step in the right direction. Sometimes, names are chosen to help with public relations and marketing -- I must trust that this is not the case here.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

If this is one entity why not have one name - UM police department? or the larger entity - TUMBRWPTMARFNROTTC - The UM Bureaucratic Regents Wasting Public Time, Money, And Resources For No Reason Other Than They Can.

Chip Reed

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

@Kyle-Inquiring minds want to know, are U-M security people REAL police, just the same as AA Police, sheriff's deputies, and Michigan State troopers? Do these other entities view them as equals, or something a bit different?

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

As seldon and Epengar have pointed out, the U-M Police Department is on the same level as the Sheriff's Office or AAPD. The other agencies do not have the ability to arrest people or investigate crimes and instead report those to the U-M Police.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

seldon is right. The officers of the current Department of Public Safety, soon-to-be Police Department, are licensed law enforcement officers who went to the same police training academies that city police and county deputies go to. They enforce state law and regents ordinances on campus, not City of AA ordinances. There are lots of additional security staff who are not licensed officers. More here:


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Used to work for Barney Fife - with hilarity ensuing.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Officers of "The Organization Formerly Known as DPS" are actual police officers, with arrest powers and everything. It doesn't really matter what members of other agencies think. The law is the law.


Tue, Jan 15, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

No, they aren't the same. They are each issued a single bullet that they are required to keep in their shirt pocket. They can only load the bullet into their gun in case of emergency.