In the last three months, reportedly 13 police employees have either been let go, put on leave or left of their own accord, raising the strain on a department battered by investigation.
What started as a 14-page employee complaint in April led to the police chief being put on leave, and resigning May 11. Within a month, four more were put on leave and under investigation.
The assistant chief and an officer were fired, a guard on leave resigned and the former chief’s administrative assistant is still in limbo. Since then, others have resigned voluntarily.
Most notably, Lt. Chris Dickson recently ended an eight-year career UT System police, including 5 years at UTD, under mounting pressure.
The three-time Staff Council president described low morale and exhaustion of personnel due to understaffing. Dickson said he’d hoped to work at UTD until retirement, but said he resigned to call attention to worsening work conditions under interim leadership.
Vice President for Communications Susan Rogers said it’s not uncommon to see employee departures when leadership changes.
Interim UTD Police Chief Mike Tacker said the department has hired six officers. Four will complete UT System Police Academy in December but must complete field training before they can work in a full capacity.
The 2005 Presidential Advisory Commission on Residential Housing recommended a minimum staffing level of three officers on duty during each shift. UTD Police Department employs more than 90 people, including a maximum of 26 commissioned police officers. The department was not at full capacity when Ridge left.
Rogers said the University Police are able to call on personnel from other UT System campuses as needed, and hiring for police positions will continue.