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Calm

Lawsuit over BYU Police being "open records"

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Do BYU police routinely patrol off campus? Do they act more like a private security force? Would privacy issues arise about events affecting their ' client' ?

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Posted (edited)

Here is the info I know, scanning through the various reports, it looks like there are multiple campuses it has authority on including Jerusalem Center, a campus in London, another in DC.  I haven't seen any reports that are off campus or not owned by BYU.  Dorms, married student housing, intramural fields, and Y Trailhead had reports.

Most reports were bicycle thefts and backpacks stolen, quite a number of people getting escorted off campus.  There were an occasional domestic violence report, stalking, and other more serious crimes.

It is state certified.  They obviously have detectives (the ones that traveled to CO and AZ to interview Denson and Bishop.  They submitted their findings to the Utah County Attorney who said he would have filed charges if not pass limitations, but unknown to me if he would have had to rerun the investigation with the County Sheriff Dept or someone else.  Doesn't sound like it. 

https://police.byu.edu/

Their officer involved shooting protocol is titled "Utah County Law Enforcement Officer Involved Incident Protocol" so it sounds like they are included with government police.

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An incident which occurs in any city, town, or unincorporated area of Utah County and involves any employee of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Brigham Young University Police, Utah Valley University Police, Utah Highway Patrol, Utah Department of Public Safety, Utah Department of Corrections, or any Police Department or Department of Public Safety of any city or town located in Utah County 

 

Edited by Calm

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Calm said:

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/05/14/should-brigham-young-universitys-police-department-be-subject-to-utahs-open-records-law-a-judge-will-soon-decide/

Me, I think I side with the Trib on this...if it has police authority, it should be treated like government police.  

It is my understanding that BYU Police patrol and enforce the State Law both on and off campus, that they are police officers under State Law and have full State authority.  They should, therefore, be subject to GRAMA requests just like any other State institution, and for the same reasons.

The SLCPD website explains:

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What is GRAMA?

In 1991, the Utah Legislature enacted the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) under Title 63G, Chapter 2 of the Utah Code, giving the public the right to access information.

Fee:  $10.00 per report requested up to 50 pages and $.25 per page after 50 pages.

GRAMA is a comprehensive law dealing with management of government records. GRAMA states who has access to records and how the law is enforced. It is an attempt to balance the public's constitutional right of access to information concerning public business, the individual's constitutional right of privacy when the government gathers personal data, and the public policy interest in allowing a government to restrict access to certain records for the public good.

This is an instance in which BYU administrators don't understand the principle of "agency."  BYU Police Officers are agents of the State of Utah.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Private institutions should not be allowed to have a private police force

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9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

If BYU campus cops are not a government entity in general then they definitely do not have the power to arrest or use physical force to enforce their will....that being the province of government.

However, they are arguing they are not a government entity under GRAMA (the Government Records Access and Management Act) and here I think they might have a case because I was bored enough tonight to look up the law and then realized I do not have the time to read all of this.

Most likely results are that the judge rules in favor of the Tribune or that he rules against it and the ambiguity puts it to the legislature who can clarify the law whichever way they choose. The latter is probably the best way to go but I can't find myself caring much either way.

Clearly the cops are trying to hide the human sacrifices going on on campus.

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6 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Clearly the cops are trying to hide the human sacrifices going on on campus.

there is evidence thst suggests byu pd is hiding things

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What is intriguing about this is the BYU PD is fighting this hard to keep a few lines hidden from the public.  The way they are talking it sounds like they are willing to do some legal battles to be able to avoid being subject to GRAMA.  Sounds almost nuts to me.  

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12 minutes ago, provoman said:

Private institutions should not be allowed to have a private police force

So you want your taxes to pay for campus cops instead of the university?

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5 minutes ago, provoman said:

there is evidence thst suggests byu pd is hiding things

By evidence do you mean they do not want to share everything with you?

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10 hours ago, Calm said:

Me, I think I side with the Trib on this...if it has police authority, it should be treated like government police.  

I'm thinking I'm on the side of private institutions having the right to keep their records private.  BYU police is not publicly funded so I don't see that the law has the same application as it does with a public institution.

The GR is GRAMA stands for Government Records.  If the public has the right to access BYU police records that would mean that BYU police was a government agency, which they are not.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

This is an instance in which BYU administrators don't understand the principle of "agency."  BYU Police Officers are agents of the State of Utah.

I think that BYU administrators understand that the records BYU police creates are not government records, and therefore not subject to the Government Records Access and Management Act.

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23 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

So you want your taxes to pay for campus cops instead of the university?

yes. Provo PD can patrol the area, or create a precint

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23 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

By evidence do you mean they do not want to share everything with you?

by evidence is the same document released to the public, but each version is redacted differently.

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2 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

So you want your taxes to pay for campus cops instead of the university?

Actually I think that would be better. I've never understood the whole idea of campus police. I think the main reason is to make sure University parking is enforced and to be able to direct traffic during events. But that could easily be handled by having some parking police permanently stationed on campus. For criminal activity it would make far more sense for more experienced detectives to do everything. I'm pretty skeptical there would be significant increased costs.

The main downside to that (speaking now more generally and not of Provo) is when the local police department isn't helpful. If there are tensions between the university and the mayor/police chief then you can understand why there'd be issues. Despite the problems of Provo's last police chief and sexual harassment, I've not heard of any tensions like that. 

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33 minutes ago, provoman said:

there is evidence thst suggests byu pd is hiding things

BYU is trying to keep hidden how often the campus police would access a state controlled police database and send reports to the honor code office. The honor code office requested records and obtained records on a student through the BYU police but from the Provo police department. They are trying to hide how often this happened. Things have changed but what this BYU Lieutenant did on behalf of the honor code office was illegal. What I do believe is this practice has ended because of the publicity and the state investigation. https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=4451529&itype=CMSID

From the original OP article. "BYU police released some records, but refused to release records of communication between the department and the Mormon school’s Honor Code and Title IX offices.

The university police have said they do not conduct investigations for the Honor Code Office. However, The Tribune has obtained internal BYU documents that show a BYU police lieutenant used his access to Provo police records, via a countywide law enforcement database, for an Honor Code investigation into the conduct of a student who had reported a sexual assault to Provo police.

The Department of Public Safety spent a year investigating how BYU officers access and share their own reports and the records of other Utah County police agencies. While their investigation was completed last July, the Utah attorney general’s office has been reviewing the case ever since — and the findings have not yet been made public. 

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For those who are interested in reading the substantive legal arguments being presented by both sides, I have uploaded the two motions for summary judgment which have been filed in this case, as well as the responsive memos, as follows:

  • 01_A_BYU Case - Trib MSJ.pdf (This is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune.)
  • 01_B_BYU Case - BYU Opp to Trib MSJ - No Exhibits.pdf (This is BYU's response to the Trib's MSJ.)
  • 01_C_BYU Case - Trib Reply to Opp - No Exhibits.pdf (This is the Trib's reply to BYU's response.)
  • 02_A_BYU Case - BYU MSJ - No Exhibits.pdf (This is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of BYU.)
  • 02_B_BYU Case - Trib Opp to MSJ.pdf (This is the Trib's response to BYU's MSJ.)
  • 02_C_BYU Case - BYU Reply to Opp.pdf (This is BYU's reply to the Trib's response).

I had to omit the exhibits to get the file sizes small enough to upload.

For the non-lawyers reading this, here's a quick primer:

A "motion for summary judgment" ("MSJ") is filed when one side in a lawsuit believes that there are no genuine factual disputes in the case (which may need a trial to sort out), such that the judge can look at the facts and render judgment "as a matter of law" (without the case going to trial).  MSJs are very common in civil litigation.  The one side (the "moving party") files the MSJ, the other then files a memorandum in opposition to it, and the moving party files a "reply" to the opposition.  Then those three documents are submitted to the Court, which then often schedules a hearing to let the parties make oral arguments on the motion.

In this case, the Trib filed an MSJ, and BYU did the same, hence the "Trib MSJ" and the "BYU MSJ" documents above.  This too is a fairly common thing in civil litigation.

The court docket indicates that oral argument was conducted yesterday.  Did anyone hear how it went?

Thanks,

-Smac

02_A_BYU Case - BYU MSJ - No Exhibits.pdf

01_C_BYU Case - Trib Reply to Opp - No Exhibits.pdf

01_A_BYU Case - Trib MSJ.pdf

01_B_BYU Case - BYU Opp to Trib MSJ - No Exhibits.pdf

02_B_BYU Case - Trib Opp to MSJ.pdf

02_C_BYU Case - BYU Reply to Opp.pdf

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2 minutes ago, smac97 said:

For those who are interested in reading the substantive legal arguments being presented by both sides, ...

Thank you forbthe information.

Side question, in your experience, with today as the deadline for the Church to respond to the Denson suit, how soon do you those responses would be available on the docket...I am using PACER.

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Just now, provoman said:

Thank you forbthe information.

Side question, in your experience, with today as the deadline for the Church to respond to the Denson suit, how soon do you those responses would be available on the docket...I am using PACER.

Documents usually show up on PACER within seconds/minutes after being filed, in my experience. 

I would think the Church's attorneys would strictly adhere to the deadline, but they have the rest of the day.  Or they might have reached an agreement for an extension which has not been filed with the Court.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

So you want your taxes to pay for campus cops instead of the university?

If tax rates were limited to 10% it would be a wash against tithing to pay for them, (along with a lot of other stuff obviously) but considering they are not, cold hearted economic self interest says you are making a good point.

Throw in the way government spends money, vs how the church spends money, I would think Utah Mormons are financially ahead keeping it as is.

Edited by mfbukowski

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Posted (edited)

According to this article, 38 percent of private colleges in the U.S. (with student bodies larger than 2,500) use sworn police officers in their security operations.  A few other interesting bits:

Quote

Of those 153 departments, 82 percent were authorized to carry sidearms. By contrast, 92 percent of public universities within that cohort used sworn police officers. Nearly all were authorized to use sidearms.

...

Not all university police jurisdictions are created equal. Three-quarters of private-college police departments told the Department Justice their jurisdiction extended to properties adjacent to campus. Nearly 60 percent said their jurisdictions applied to properties outside the area surrounding campus. Twenty percent of departments said they had the authority to make arrests statewide.

And this:

Quote

The Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Appeals ruled a Rice University police officer could not be held liable for an arrest that ended with dropped charges. The court found that the officer was entitled to the same protections from legal claims arising against public officials acting in their sanctioned capacities. The North Carolina Court of Appeals reached a similar conclusion for the Duke University Police Department after one of its officers fatally shot an alleged panhandler outside the university’s hospital. Officers and hospital visitors alleged that the man wrestled a firearm out of the officer’s holster and refused to release the weapon. Conversely, Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled that police officers at Agnes Scott College were not entitled to such an immunity.

Transparency is also a concern, Lester and other advocates say. In 2016 the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that state-imbued arrest powers did not require the University of Notre Dame to give ESPN crime reports that pertained to student athletes. And a 2016 review by the Student Press Law Center found that only Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia had enacted legislation requiring some sort of disclosure by private police departments sanctioned by the state. And even in states with transparency laws, some private-university actors fail to adhere to the spirit of the law. In the case of Duke, the university has typically provided only the first page of police reports while sometimes redacting portions of that single page.

But unlike municipal police departments, private-college police departments are required to comply with crime and safety reporting under the Clery Act, said David Tedjeske, director of public safety and chief of police at Villanova University. In addition, Tedjeske, who is also Mid-Atlantic Region director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, said strict federal laws require college police departments to issue timely alerts to their communities when particular criminal activity occurs on or near campus. And, when it comes to pertinent information related to criminal procedure, Tedjeske said those records can always be accessed through the courts.

"I take issue a little bit with the assertion that we are not as accountable as our municipal counterparts," Tedjeske said.

The 2016 Indiana Supreme Court decision is interesting.

Thanks,

-Smac 

Edited by smac97
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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Clearly the cops are trying to hide the human sacrifices going on on campus.

Your  attempt to trivialize this subject duly noted.

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5 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Throw in the way government spends money, vs how the church spends money,

I'm not sure you have a safe assumption at all.  But, the church doesn't really let anyone know how it spends money.  So we'd just be assuming a few things here.  Having had worked for both entities you mention I'm also not very confident there is any reason to assume the Church is more efficient with funds.  

hmm...yeah...I'm just not so sure you are making a very wise comment her, Mr Bu. 

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20 minutes ago, Atheist Mormon said:

Your  attempt to trivialize this subject duly noted.

Is it possible to trivialize a legal debate over whether a campus police department is subject to specific records laws in a state many of us do not live in? I mean.....who cares? I suppose some will defend the school because it tied to the church but I don’t really like BYU so what is the big concern?

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