UW Police, Safety Programs Facing Major Cuts (Updated)

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee February 24, 2011

The University of Washington's police forced, tasked with protecting UW's campus and students, could soon face major cuts due to state budget reductions.

A letter sent to UW faculty this morning, obtained by, says UWPD could be forced to cut six police officers, "which would effectively discontinue crime prevention work, the detective unit, bike patrol, and the patrol of the Greek row, where 6,000 students reside."

UW could also eliminate safety programs like the Night Ride shuttle bus which, according to UW, "provides a safe and easy way for the campus community to get home at night."

The letter says the potential cuts are the result of a 30-32% reduction in the money UW recieves from the state.

According to University of Washington crime statistics, on-campus robberies, burglaries, drug arrests, and domestic assaults all rose between 2007 and 2009, the latest year data was available.

UW police statistics show there were 70 burglaries in 2007, 75 in 2008, and 83 in 2009.

Robberies rose from 3 in 2007 to 6 in 2009, and Seattle police are still investigating a string of violent robberies which occurred near campus over the last few months.

Drug arrests climbed from 34 in 2007, 47 in 2008, and 48 in 2009.

And domestic violence assaults reported to the campus's Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Information Service rose from 37 in 2008 to 46 in 2009.

When contacted this afternoon, University of Washington Police spokesman Cmdr. Jerome Solomon had just heard about the potential cuts, and declined to immediately comment. "This is news to me," he said. 

A school spokesman was also unavailable to immediately comment on the potential cuts.

UPDATE: UW Transportation Director Josh Kavanagh called to let us know that, despite the claims in the letter that the Night Ride program could be cut, Kavanagh says the program is funded with "self-sustaining" money, and would not be impacted by any state cuts.

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