Tarmann looks to establish trust with UWO community

Jake Batterman

University Police chief candidate Christopher Tarmann reviewed his theory on campus policing during an open forum Monday at Reeve Memorial Union Tarmann serves as the University’s interim chief of police and has been an officer in Oshkosh since 2008. Tarmann focused his discussion on the benefits of a community-centered policing philosophy and said his vision of interactive campus policing is a proactive organizational strategy. “Ultimately, the goal is to use the community to help partner with the police department,” Tarmann said. “We educate the community. They educate us, and we really create one big bond to make sure that safety is priority number one on campus.” Tarmann said connecting with student organization is key to educating students and gaining their support. He said he thinks UP officials should attend a wide array of events on campus, even if they aren’t in uniform. “As a police department, we need to be at those events,” Tarmann said. “Not because something could happen or because we think there’s a risk to the event, but because we want to support the event and we want to build a partnership with the people who are attending those events so that when something does happen, they trust us.” Tarmann said he is proud of the successful “Run with the Cops” fundraising event he co-coordinates, and would like to develop more programs that foster community relationships. Tarmann suggested creating a “Breakfast with the UP” event where students can get to know the officers who patrol the UWO campus. “All you have to do is come and sit with the police and share,” Tarmann said. “We can talk. We can humanize the police. It develops a partnership.” Oshkosh Student Association Jordan Schettle sad when looking at each candidates’ qualifications, one cannot place stereotypes on individuals based on the generalizations recently placed on police personnel. “It’s hard to remove emotion when making a decision like choosing a police chief,” Schettle said. “They should be judged based on a proven track record.” UWO senior Aza Muzorewa said he thought Tarmann’s presentation was thorough and informative. “The thing that I was most interested in hearing about was the issue with body cameras,” Muzorewa said. “The time to enact those policies is not after incidents happen. It’s good to have a game plan.” Tarmann said he fully supports the implementation of body cameras, but the department cannot currently afford them. “It’s not a matter of us not wanting them,” Tarmann said. “It’s a matter of us getting the funding for it. I’m fully on board with that. They lend a certain accountability to our staff, and really protect them too.” Tarmann said he wants to expand the physical space of the department to improve communication and reduce employee stress, but budget restrictions limit his ability to do so. “If we want to keep and retain employees, which I know is an issue for everyone on campus, we need to look at the space needs,” Tarmann said. “We need to have a more functional facility.”