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Posted on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

U-M police take questions from public at first in promised series of meetings

By Kyle Feldscher

Members of the public got a look into how the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety conducts its business at a public meeting Tuesday, with the promise of more to come.

The meeting attracted about 30 members of the public as well as university and city of Ann Arbor officials and 22 members of different divisions of the public safety department. It was a surprising turnout for an 8:30 a.m. meeting just a few days before Thanksgiving and was more than Chief Greg O’Dell expected.


Greg O'Dell

O’Dell said the meeting followed the same format of the weekly meetings he has with members of the department. Members of the public who came to the meeting also got the chance to express some concerns and ask questions about the department, which was one of the main reasons O’Dell said he to hold the meeting.

“I want to hear what you guys say and what your concerns are,” O’Dell said. “We’re all in this together.”

O’Dell presented statistics showing the number of reports and arrests the department has made this so far this year, compared to the same period last year and the year before. The statistics showed the number of crimes continuing to keep pace with statistics reflected in the annual report released in September.

Reports of crimes such as larcenies, burglaries, sexual assaults, aggravated assaults and motor vehicle theft are all down compared to November 2010 and November 2009, according to the statistics O’Dell provided. The report also showed that index crimes. the most serious crimes, including — homicide, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, larceny more than $50, motor vehicle theft and arson — are down 30 percent from the same time one year ago.

“Overall, if you show me a number down 30 percent, I’m pretty happy,” O’Dell said.

Lt. Melissa Overton led the meeting as she usually does, giving updates on investigations detectives are working on, major arrests made in the last week and maps showing where incidents were being reported.

Several people who participated in a roundtable discussion expressed concerns about the number of laptops being stolen from university libraries. Officers discussed a new initiative in which anyone patrolling the libraries who sees an unattended expensive item puts a card near the item reminding the owner to not leave items unattended because they will get stolen.

Overton said the department has many operations in effect trying to limit the number of laptop thefts, which are overwhelmingly affecting students.

“We do undercover stings (to catch people stealing laptops),” she said. O’Dell said he’s not sure how many other similar meetings the department will hold in upcoming weeks, but he wants to bring them to different areas of the campus community to get more people involved.

Holding these types of meetings has been one of his goals since he took over the chief job a few months ago, he said.

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


Joe Kidd

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

Whoopie. When DPS comes clean on the Ken Magee story they will start looking ethical. Can't trust an organization that handles issues like that one.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 8 p.m.

The EMU PD will never be the same without Chief O'Dell. He really improved the operation and professionalism........As a part of the EMU, he is missed....

Mr. Ed

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 2:21 a.m.

Class act


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 8:51 p.m.

The public meeting is a good idea but I would like to have seen more discussion with the public. The real test is what he does when the public is not watching. Will he tell truth to power or will we continue, like Penn State, to protect the institution at the expense of the victims. It is too early to tell but the incentive are still there to continue the status quo.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

If we are just talking U of M Police Department of Public Safety, the crime rate may have declined 30% in the last year (this may be pretty factual) Glad to hear O'Dell is pretty happy with the number being 30 % down. Good Luck with the meetings. If there was a reported decline in crimes in all of Washtenaw County, It would be a big JOKE! ( I would have to call somebody a LIAR!) I don't even want to hear the statistics of crime in our surrounding cities. When I hear of cuts in pay and services makes me actually sick. I am at this point waiting to see who is going to replace our (York Twp.) Officer that we voted for and pay taxes to have. I say (YAY) to the Detroit Police Officers for taking the sick day! (all 26 of them) They must stand up for what they are WORTH!


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

Chief O'Dell seems like a good egg. I especially like his willingness to speak out with his concerns about the pedestrian crossing ordinance(s) and these transparency town hall-esque meetings are cool too. Right on.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

fantastic stuff. i'm glad to see that they did this. i couldn't make it, but i would have loved to have been there to voice my support. but, i was able to send my compliments (and 2 recommendations) to DPS, and they graciously listened to my thoughts. it's nice to see that overton was there as well. good stuff.

Henry Ruger

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:49 p.m.

U-M's gain was a major loss for EMU's Department of Public Safety. Y'all over in Wolverine Land should appreciate Chief O'Dell!