MS. BERNARDINE VANDERLIP
Conducted by: Anne and Laura Minton
L. MINTON: How long have you been with the University Police Department?
VANDERLIP: With the Department, it is fifteen years now.
L. MINTON: What do you believe to be the public’s perception towards the UAPD and have you seen a change in it over time?
VANDERLIP: Most of them are very receptive and helpful to us, especially in the upper tiers of the University. Students, it teeters. They seem to—you have the groups that stay away, and the groups that have embraced us. And, I think one of the things that I have seen the most since I have been in here is how the fraternities and the sororities--. The sororities have always been there, but the fraternities are starting to get where they embrace it and they’re always asking for our assistance.
L. MINTON: Keeping the theme of professionalism in mind, what did you notice about Slamons’ leadership style?
VANDERLIP: It’s hard because I came in the latter years of his [career], so I didn’t have a lot to base that on. He was already to the point where he was trying to develop the next layer down—the captain—although of course at that time we only had one captain, and then the lieutenants, so he was allowing them to take leadership more at the time that he came,
L. MINTON: How has your role in the Dept. changed over the last fifteen years?
VANDERLIP: It has changed a lot. I came in with Mr. Slamons when I was only to him, answering to him or assist to him. As we’ve branched out to more captains, I’ve become more involved and since Steve [Gahagans] has taken over, he’s changed my role a lot. It’s really… almost to the point where I’m more equal with them than under them, but yet I add all that support that they can’t get done, and that has been the biggest change I think. I’ve gone into a lot more HR stuff than I used to be into.
L. MINTON: What do you believe to be the most recognizable and significant change to the infrastructure?
VANDERLIP: I think that adding more captains has helped a lot because it’s broken down the units and we’ve grown so much since I’ve came here that its helped to have those units broken down and their leaders to be able to get more information out to be able to assist them. I know that when I first came here, like I said, there was only one captain and it put them in so many different places at one time that it was hard.
A. MINTON: I think that’s really interesting.
VANDERLIP: I think the system really changed.
A. MINTON: There’s not too many cooks in the kitchen, it’s just divided the work so that they’re more specialized perhaps.
VANDERLIP: See, we’ve grown to—Matt Mills was an EOC Captain, police…we’ve always had a police captain. Support? Well, we’ve always had a support captain, but throughout my years here, that support captain was either existing or not existing. We just seem to teeter a lot in having a captain in that area, and so now we’ve got all 3: EOC, police, support. And then we’ve got Kathryn [Huddler] who is the personnel part of it, so it divides it a lot more, and we still have room to grow and divide some areas out.
A. MINTON: How many officers would you say it has grown from when you came here in 2000?
VANDERLIP: It was like 20…just barely in the twenties when I first came here. Our budget was so low that we had to keep spots open because we couldn’t function with the small budget. Not having a full capacity of officers allowed us to have that extra money to be able to have the equipment that they needed. Now we’ve grown so much more that—we’ve grown probably a good twenty [officers]. We’re up to 46 people right now, and out of that there are two support people and six dispatchers that aren’t sworn in. That’s one of the areas that we’re going to have to grow is support because there’s not enough.
L. MINTON: Can you explain the hierarchy of the police department in more detail as in what goes in what order?
VANDERLIP: It starts out with the chief, captains, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, and the officers. Took me a while to learn that one because I’m nonmilitary, I’ve had no military in my life or any of this, so it took me a while to learn this.
A. MINTON: Given all of the angst, anxiety, happening in the outside world about police officers and you know the horrific ecents that have been happening, is there any concern or has there been any conversation that you’ve noticed? Has there been any concern on campus or any precautions? Anything like that?
VANDERLIP: Our officers pick up that information faster than even I hear on the news, so thet’re always talking among them. Training, the increase of training so that they will be watchful and all of that. It’s—they’re more alert on things.
A. MINTON: Does that trickle down to the Razorpatrol or all of those people? Are they associated with—they’re associated with the UAPD, so I wonder if they’re getting [threats]?
VANDERLIP: I really don’t have enough association with Razorback Patrol to help there, how they… of course, they’re just students, too. I don’t know how to answer that part of it, but I know that the guys are always doing the “what-if” discussions. You hear multiple opinions on things, and it’s fun to listen to the different things. They always come back to the basics on things, and that’s--The biggest push to get the EOC was because of all the things going on. You just never know. With how close it’s been to us, the things that are going on, and they don’t take threats lightly. I could say that the last few years, people are more aware of strange things, strange packages, strange people that we get calls a lot more frequently than we used to. People here, and across campus are more aware. They don’t take it lightly anymore. I know Steve [Gahagans] teases me like saying to check that there’s no white powder—he teases me a lot. They are more aware of those things and more alert. Before, it was just paper dust.
A. MINTON: It’s a different world than it was ten years ago, twenty years ago. It’s a totally different world.
VANDERLIP: It’s a majorly different world from the time I started here to today. The alertness and the people just—the fear factor of things.