Laptop confiscations in Lau were inconsistent with DPS policy, DPS Associate Director now says

Last week, the Voice reported that the Department of Public Safety had been zealously enforcing a previously unknown policy of confiscating unattended laptops in Lauinger Library.

When asked about the confiscations, DPS Associate Director Joseph Smith wrote in an e-mail:

DPS routinely secures bicycles, laptops, and other items for safekeeping when they are found unattended. This is not a new policy; DPS has done this for years.

However, Smith now says the officers on the midnight shift had been performing informal “security sweeps” that were “not consistent with DPS policy.”

Smith writes in an e-mail:

I looked into this matter and found indeed that officers on the midnight shift, as an informal practice, have been securing laptops they find when they conduct a security sweep of the library and holding them at the guard desk to prevent their theft.

While I appreciate their motivation to protect the students from victimization, the practice is not consistent with DPS policy and has been ordered to be ceased immediately.  If there is a compelling need for DPS to secure any property, they will complete both an incident report and a property record, and they will secure the item at DPS headquarters.

Additional reporting by Cole Stangler.

4 Comments on “Laptop confiscations in Lau were inconsistent with DPS policy, DPS Associate Director now says

  1. So wait, you want DPS to protect your stuff, but you want to be able to leave your computers sitting around and DPS shouldn’t touch them?

  2. Yes, Tim, that’s exactly what we want. Very good.

  3. I would be pissed as hell if I left where I was working to go to the bathroom and came back to find my laptop gone, particularly if it was DPS that had ‘secured’ it. Additionally, in response to Tim, I really don’t think anyone (or at least anyone I know) holds DPS responsible for protecting our stuff in this way. For example, if my bike got stolen, I would be unlikely to blame DPS for not ‘protecting my stuff’. I think there’s a difference between them securing unlocked bikes, and taking laptops left unattended in the library. At the very least, they need to publicize the face that they’re securing people’s belongings a lot more than they are currently.

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