University Severs Police Institute, Blackwater Deal
WRAL (2007-08-22) Associated Press
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M129
Media Link: http://www.wral.com/news/state/story/1729414/
CHICAGO — The University of Illinois has canceled a partnership between its police-training institute and a military contractor best known for providing security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan because of a potential conflict of interest, according to a published report.
The university, which inked the five-year deal in May, scrapped the partnership with North Carolina-based Blackwater USA because the institute's director, Tom Dempsey, hadn't informed the school he was negotiating personal contracting work with Blackwater while helping coordinate the partnership, the Chicago Tribune reported in Wednesday editions.
In a recent letter sent to Blackwater and obtained by the newspaper, Chancellor Richard Herman said the deal was entered into "in a manner which was inconsistent with university policy."
The report did not specify when the letter was sent or exactly when the agreement was severed. Messages seeking comment were left with the university and Blackwater early Wednesday.
The agreement between the university and Blackwater didn't mention money, but indicated the Police Training Institute and Blackwater would exchange faculty, work with each other's students and conduct unspecified research together.
Dempsey requested a leave of absence to work for Blackwater in Afghanistan about two months after the agreement was signed. He remains on leave while training local police in drug enforcement there.
University spokeswoman Robin Kaler told the Tribune that school officials who signed off on the Blackwater agreement weren't aware of Dempsey's planned consulting work.
"When an administrator is asked to sign off on something like this, he or she needs to have the complete picture," Kaler said.
Dempsey has denied the agreement gave Blackwater any foothold for future work to run police training classes certified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. He has said he was not working for Blackwater when the university signed the deal with the company.
Blackwater is well known for its private security forces used by the federal government in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The company also opened an 80-acre police training center, Blackwater North, in April in Mount Carroll, Illinois, about 60 miles west of Rockford.