Police vote against chief
BY BRIAN DUGGAN AND NICK COLTRAIN
TUESDAY, FEB. 26, 2008 @ 3:23 AM
Ten out of 16 officers and four sergeants in the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department said they have no confidence in police chief Adam Garcia, according to an undated three-page memo.The officers and sergeants who signed the document about two weeks ago say that the department â€śis not prepared for a major incident like Columbine or Virginia Techâ€ť because of low staffing levels, poor equipment and little training.
The officers also accuse Garcia of neglecting their safety and being out of touch with the departmentâ€™s needs.
Ron Zurek, Garciaâ€™s immediate boss at the university, and Jannet Vreeland, the interim provost, met with the police sergeants Monday about their complaints. Vreeland said they are â€śgathering information.â€ť
They said it would be premature to comment further.
UNR President Milton Glick said the same, though he was disappointed that the complaint went public.
â€śI am very disappointed that the officers would have gone to the press with this, without going to Ron Zurek or me, especially in a time like this,â€ť Glick said.
Garcia and Ron Cuzze, president of the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officersâ€™ Association, gave different twists on the same story. UNR police officers are not permitted to comment to the media.
Garcia calls the three-page complaint a â€ślaundry listâ€ť of grievances meant to discredit the department.
â€śThis document is obviously so ambiguous (that) it says very little,â€ť Garcia said. â€śThe way it was presented and produced, it was obviously presented for a reason; it wasnâ€™t meant to change things. It was meant to embarrass the department and the university.â€ť
Garcia questioned the motives behind releasing the memo to the media last week before he saw it. He called the act â€ścharacter assassination.â€ť
Cuzze said the officers, not the union released the information to the media. He said it was the only way for them to get leverage in working with the university administrators. In the memo, officers said the vote of no confidence made its first rounds in August. But Garcia held a meeting and promised to fix the problems, they said.
â€śThe last one (vote of no confidence) didnâ€™t work and the only way they (the officers) can get their voice heard is with the media,â€ť Cuzze said.
He said Garcia has tried to retaliate and discredit the officers in press reports. Garcia told the Associated Press that he might change the work schedule to five 8-hour days instead of the four 10-hour days worked now.
Cuzze said that is Garcia sending veiled threats to his officers.
â€śPolice departments are run by intimidation and Garcia is one of the best intimidators and thatâ€™s ********,â€ť Cuzze said. â€śThey (the officers) are tired of his intimidation and theyâ€™re fighting back and they wonâ€™t quit until he (Garcia) is gone.â€ť
When asked for a response to Cuzzeâ€™s comment, Garcia said, â€śI donâ€™t know what he means by (intimidation). Does he mean expecting people to do their job?â€ť
Garcia also raised questions of officers who are concerned about patrolling alone at night.
â€śI think itâ€™s ironic, whatâ€™s going on in our community that we have officers saying they donâ€™t want to do this (patrol alone),â€ť Garcia said. â€śShame on them.â€ť
Garcia said â€śnone of these officers are being worked to deathâ€ť and UNRPD doesnâ€™t need to hire more officers.
But officers want to do their jobs safely so they can keep the public safer, Cuzze said.
â€śThatâ€™s what the officers are really saying: stop telling these people (the public) lies, stop giving these people a false sense of security, give us the proper training and give us the proper equipment and let us do our job,â€ť Cuzze said.