MR. BRAD BRUNS
January 12, 2015
1. How long were you with the University Police Department? 23.5 years
2. In your opinion, how has the police force changed in regard to the department transformation as a whole?
In 1979 when I was hired we were certified police officers, but had limited jurisdiction and limited duties. That was all part of the overall plan by Director Slamons to inch toward a full authority police department for the entire campus. Today the police department serves as a whole, to include the use of K-9’s, SWAT training, automatic weaponry, and most modern day devices used by police today.
3. How was the Kimpel Hall shooting significant for not only the officers involved, but for the community?
Kimpel Hall incident was a major and life changing event for the community and the police officers. Out of the three officers that were in the immediate vicinity and dealt with the ordeal first handed, all have or had left the department. Officer Aaron Mahan left and went to Fayetteville P.D., but since has returned and currently is a Sgt. with the department. Sgt. Matt Mills left the department and went to work at Wal-Mart Security for several years and returned as a Lt. and currently still employed there. Captain Brad Bruns retired from the department in July of 2002. It had such an impact on the University Community that a shrine was built outside the building in remembrance of Dr. Lock.
4. The police force itself underwent a large transformation. Which of the many changes for police officers, including requirements, was most significant, in your opinion?
Helping police officers through the rigors of training to become a full time police officer is time consuming and very taxing. The requirements are so tough it takes 9-10 months once an officer is hired just to get them on the street by themselves. That is difficult especially for small departments, but is a problem that the command personnel has dealt with for years and will continue to be a part of the trade. But the most significant is one that most of the officers of today, will most likely take for granted and that is the nice facility they are provided with as a home base. Director Slamons made remarkable strides in professionalism when he took us from that little haunted house on Storer St. to the facility on Razorback Road.
5. When Slamons was the Director at the UAPD, how was he instrumental in making sure that officers were treated well, and had all the resources they needed to effectively protect the campus?
Director Slamons was an innovator in the field of Law Enforcement. His vision for the department, the University, and Law Enforcement as a profession was beyond the times. He would look at things that needed to be and bring them into being, working his magic with the rank and field officer and the politicians in Little Rock, who most times were not in favor of turning the department into a full operational police department. No leader in the profession had the abilities to get things done in the early years like Larry Slamons. He built relationships from the janitor to the President of the United States of America, literally. He kept his department relationship based and pushed that goal to all who entered the door for employment, whether full time or part time. He was quick to realize that the majority of the people we deal with were 17-23 year olds, and add in they are in a college setting, good kids sometimes make stupid decisions and their lives didn’t need to be ruined over college pranks. His savvy for knowing the difference between a bad decision and a criminal offense was remarkable. These qualities gave Director Slamons national prominence in the Law Enforcement profession.
6. Campus enrollment numbers have since doubled, and continue to grow each year. How do you think the rapid growth has affected the UAPD officers?
Personnel ratios were very low when I was there, we had 23 certified officers and answered around 15,000 calls a year, which clearly showed an understaffing problem. I do not know those numbers today, but I am sure they have not gained a lot in the area of ratios.
7. What do you believe to be the public’s perception of the UA and Fayetteville communities towards the UAPD? Have you seen a change in that perception over time?
In 1979, when I started the department struggled with the identity of police and the new concept of carrying guns on campus. Today that is an accepted practice and has expanded through time. That expansion has included assigning officers out to work with local, county and state officers in task forces and investigations. There is a nationwide acceptance to UAPD in the training field with numerous officers becoming graduates of the prestigious FBI National Academy.
8. In your opinion, which of the many implemented programs when Slamons was the director affected police officers the most, and was most significant for the campus?
Director Slamons was a pioneer in the area of diversity hiring. Where diversity in the field of Law Enforcement today is a common practice, it was not popular among the local scene in the 70’s and 80’s. In the 70’s Director Slamons hired the first black officer and female in the area, in the 80’s the first female supervisor in Northwest Arkansas saw her stripes at UAPD. History was made.
Director Slamons’ passion for training the officers was second to none. He implemented the first officer training school outside the ALETA Facility in East Camden Arkansas (other than Little Rock P.D.), at the time I was there he had the most FBINAA graduates employed in one department throughout all Northwest Arkansas and assisted in bringing to Northwest Arkansas a satellite ALETA located in Springdale. All the above are remarkable achievements that anyone would be proud of, but the best asset that Director Slamons gave to UAPD, the University of Arkansas, the Law Enforcement Profession and the United States of America was the love and compassion that he demonstrated to his fellow mankind on a day to day basis.