attacks to stolen laptops
Police chief logs first year
By Matt Kelly
by Caroline Sheen
Police Chief Paul Norris
thought about some of the things I had seen in the 1960s
from the civil rights demonstrations, the way some police
treated the demonstrators . ... [and decided] The only way
things are going to change is if people who think differently
U.Va. Police Chief
Norris is settling into his job.
54, got a baptism by fire, taking the reins as University
Police Chief just weeks before terror attacks rocked New York
and Washington, and generated high stress on Grounds.
department flew into immediate action on Sept. 11, with no time
for reflection. There were external communication problems and
an immediate concern that people injured in the Pentagon attack
would be brought to U.Va.s Medical Center.
We werent able to get through to [the Federal Emergency
Management Agency]. Then the cell phone lines got tied up,
after the attacks, University Police went on high alert, implementing
the areas disaster plan and working 12-hour shifts, so that
half the force was available at all times.
place is so high-profile, with all the historical sites and Monticello,
with Jefferson founding the University and then we have
the Rotunda. It attracts a lot more attention to the University,
long shifts lasted several weeks before reverting to eight-hour
shifts. Norris increased the visibility of the police with more
foot and car patrols. While he has no hard numbers, Norris believes
this reduced street crime, following a national trend.
They have done a good job of remaining alert and aware of
what goes on, Norris said of his officers.
Norris, the attacks were an early opportunity to see his officers
under pressure, as well as for them to see him in a crisis. It
differed from the transition he planned, meeting individually
with each officer.
Police headquarters on Ivy Road.
threats aside, thefts normally constitute much of the departments
investigations, from stolen student laptops to break-ins at deans
offices. He credits his officers with getting out and beating
the bushes, including one officer whose investigation led
to several arrests in a theft case.
University of Virginia police officers, trained at the Central
Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy, cooperate on many
investigations with the county and city police departments.
County Police Chief John Miller called Norris a very good
fit with the community, and a man who stresses planning
and regional cooperation.
been very impressed with him in a short period of time,
said Miller, who has headed the county police department for 14
who has spent most of the past 30 years working in campus law
enforcement, started his career in 1970 at Indiana University,
where a new chief was seeking to hire minorities.
Police Department employees: 130
service officers: 30
Systems security: 30
Foot, bicycle, motor scooter, motorcycle, cruisers. Horse
patrol was discontinued.
safety programs: up to 40
Norris had never considered police work, I thought about
some of the things I had seen in the 1960s from the civil rights
demonstrations, the way some police treated the demonstrators
who were very peaceful and watching the dogs getting set on them
and the hoses, he said. The only way things are going
to change is if people who think differently get involved and
get into the system.
working two years, Norris attended Butler University, studying
history and political science and playing football. He then returned
to the Indiana University Police Department, taught at the Indiana
Police Academy and spent a year as a firefighter for Bloomington
who promised his children he would stay in Bloomington while they
were in school, rose to become Indiana Universitys first
black police chief. He held that rank for eight years before being
lured to U.Va., where he also became the first black chief, leading
a larger department at a smaller university.
values learning and urges his people to continue their education.
When he took over at IU, two of 12 administrators in the department
had college degrees. Now, he said, the last of those officers
will finish his degree in December. Education is important for
police officers to be viewed as professionals, Norris said.
job is stressful Norris is responsible for more than 100
officers and security people but refreshing, he said.
day when I come to work, I run into something totally different.
A job like this never really gets old.
once-adversarial relationship between students and campus police
when Norris started his career has waned.
police departments have been doing community policing from the
very beginning, he said. We are no longer the enemy.