Morgan State University police union raises safety concerns, blasts department leadership in letter school calls 'unexpected'

Morgan State University police union raises safety concerns, blasts department leadership in letter

BALTIMORE -- Morgan State University Police union members are demanding change in the department in the wake of a mass shooting on the school's campus earlier this month. 

In a letter addressed to "Morgan State University Leadership" dated October 10, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) raised safety concerns in the department led by Chief Lance Hatcher and called for his resignation. 

"The third shooting at Morgan State Homecoming in as many years, with an additional fourth in the nearby off-campus housing, underscores the urgency of a thorough reevaluation of our current approach," the union said. 

The 10-page letter discussed inadequate police staffing, failure to equip officers for duty, questionable decision-making by Chief Hatcher and his command staff, failure to provide officers with critical access to campus areas, failure to provide critical information to officers, a hostile work environment, violations of labor laws and more. 

"Despite our previous efforts to resolve these issues by working with Chief Hatcher, his Command Staff, and Human Resources, our concerns have fallen on deaf ears," the union said. "Now, we find ourselves in the unfortunate situation of having to elevate these issues in the wake of our campus community trying to heal."  

The letter says the department is understaffed, saying it only has 27 officers who can answer calls and does not have adequate equipment, such as vehicles to respond to incidents.

The union letter goes on to say officers had to use makeshift tourniquets to help victims the night of the shooting and there has been no counseling provided for staff following the incident.

These claims are concerning for students.

"What if I have an a personal emergency and nobody can get to me on time?" freshman Cayce Gans said.

The union called on MSU President Dr. David Wilson and other university leadership to "convene an emergency meeting to address these concerns and expeditiously implement appropriate corrective and remedial actions." 

Morgan State University said in a statement the letter was "completely unexpected and surprising" because a meeting was already scheduled between the administration and the new leadership of the MSU FOP. 

The school said the concerns have only just been brought to the attention of university leadership and committed to a 
"full investigation" of the allegations. 

"The scheduled meeting will proceed as planned and the University looks forward to using the opportunity to address the concerns identified in the letter," the school said. "As a result of these concerns, which have only just been brought to the attention of University leadership, the University is committed to conducting a full investigation of all allegations pertaining to the MSUPD and its operations."

The shooting happened on October 3, shortly after the crowning of Mr. and Ms. Morgan State University, a kickoff to homecoming week events at the school.

Investigators believe there was a dispute between two groups when gunfire erupted near the Marshall Apartment Complex dorms, Acting Police Commissioner Richard Worley said last week. At least three people are believed to have been armed.  

Four men and a woman between the ages of 18 and 22 were shot, and all were hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds. Four of the victims were students at Morgan. 

A 17-year-old suspect was arrested in connection to the shooting last week in Washington D.C., and U.S. Marshals are searching for the second suspect, identified as 18-year-old Javon Williams. They are both charged with attempted first-degree murder. 

All homecoming activities, events and classes were canceled for the week as a result. It was the third year in a row the university saw a shooting during homecoming week.

"Right now I'm feeling at ease because one has been captured but you can still feel the tension on campus that people are still scared to go to class," Morgan State freshman Miara Mountjoy said.

The university announced a multimillion-dollar plan to increase security on the campus that includes barrier fencing around the perimeter of the campus. 

Other proposed security measures included possibly adding metal detectors, weapon-detection technology, and bolstering existing resources like the blue light emergency boxes.

Some changes can already be seen, like increased security and police presence on campus. Particularly around Thurgood Marshall Hall, where a boarded-up window still serves as a reminder of the shooting for many students.

Read more

We and our partners use cookies to understand how you use our site, improve your experience and serve you personalized content and advertising. Read about how we use cookies in our cookie policy and how you can control them by clicking Manage Settings. By continuing to use this site, you accept these cookies.