A Conversation with Norm Stamper, Former Seattle Police Chief

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Image Courtesy of Norm Stamper

Who polices the police? According to Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief, the community.

On April 5, at 7 p.m. in the SURC Ballroom, Stamper will give a talk titled “Community Policing in the Age of Police Militarization” about the importance of community involvement in policing on local, national and global levels.

Stamper was a career cop, serving on both the San Diego and Seattle police forces for a total of over 30 years that stepped down from the position of Seattle Police Chief in 2000 following his hotly contested use of aggressive policing tactics, including tear gas, on protesters at the WTO riots in 1998.

Since his retirement, Stamper has advocated for revision in policing, including an end to The War on Drugs and a denouncement of increasing police militarization.

CWU HYPE Staff exchanged emails with Stamper to get some insight into his coming talk, what it will touch on, why it’s important to him, and why it may be important to you, too.

What will your talk, “Community Policing in the Age of Police Militarization” touch on?

The current state of community policing in America, the drug war and the damage it’s done to individuals, families, communities, as well as the costs to community-police relations and civil liberties. The spate of controversial police shootings and in-custody deaths at the hands of police. What we can do to strengthen constitutional policing at the community level.

Why are those topics important to you personally? 

I’ve spent my entire adult life as a cop or, as a consultant-trainer-expert witness, studying and commenting upon police policies and practices. I’ve witnessed the demoralizing effects of police misconduct on good cops, and seen damage done to the reputation of entire organizations caused by poorly trained or undisciplined individuals. It’s also heartening when I see community and police come together to police a city’s neighborhoods, and build a strong, mutually trusting relationship.

Why do you feel those topics are, or should be, important to the students and faculty at CWU?

I think it’s important to all Americans who value freedom, civil liberties, and safe communities to band together, with their police, to make that all happen. By definition, students, including those at CWU, are all about intellectual curiosity, and the search for answers to problems within their chose discipline. For those who’ve been disturbed by controversial shootings, and/or policing’s overly aggressive, militarized response to political protest–or who have been bothered by the tactics of the protestors themselves–the topic couldn’t be more relevant. 

Do you feel your experience in law enforcement has uniquely shaped your view on the issues of racial tension and mass incarceration from that of other, non-police, citizens? In what way? 

Yes. Like other cops, I’ve seen, up-close and personal, the harmful effects of race discrimination and mass incarceration on individuals and families, particularly in communities of color. 

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Stamper, not long before his resignation as Seattle Police Chief

Does your message differ if it is directed at college-aged people as opposed to older generations? How so?

Not really, not at all, actually. I may vary the way I approach these topics based on age or other demographic factors. But the message remains the same.

What does your message mean for small towns like Ellensburg? Or even more microcosmically, for college campuses like CWU?

I think smaller towns, and college campuses generally have an advantage in identifying, analyzing, and developing remedies for social problems in their “own backyard.” It’s a function of scale, really, and diversity (or lack thereof, a problem in itself). Generally, the smaller the political jurisdiction, the less complex its social, economic, demographic variables, the more likely it is — in theory — to reach consensus. Again, if guided by the “wrong” values (nativistic, racist, misogynist, homophobic, exclusionary, etc.), any community, large or small, is likely to reach agreements that, in my opinion, are unhealthy if not dangerous…and quite possibly unlawful. Fortunately, from my visits to your town, your university, that does not describe Ellensburg or CWU, though there are challenges in every community

What do you hope attendees walk away knowing or feeling after your speech? 

That the police belong to the people, not the other way around. That a strong, authentic partnership between the community and the police will create safer, healthier neighborhoods, improve officer safety and morale, and help to guarantee constitutional law enforcement.

Stamper’s talk will be immediately followed by a Q & A with students. The event is free, open to the public and is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Corey Hebert – A Passion for Healing, A Knack for Inspiring

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Dr. Corey Hebert

“When you have someone that has an open mind, which is the college student, that’s the best group to get to make change in the world.”

Renowned pediatrician, speaker and television health correspondent, Dr. Corey Hebert, will speak at CWU on March 9 in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Hebert, whose primary medical care practices in New Orleans were some of the few to stay open and provide care following Hurricane Katrina, has been on “Oprah,” “The Doctors,” and a number of other news and health programs. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Community Health TV.

Herbert currently holds faculty positions at Louisiana State, Tulane, Xavier and Dillard universities and is the medical director for the State of Louisiana Recovery School District. He feels that it is his responsibility to educate, guide and inspire young people.

“You’ve got these kids out there throwing rocks at people for the Black Lives Matter movement,” Hebert said. “Not that I don’t want them to be showing their civil unrest…my talk is about how we can bridge the gap so young people that are learning about this activism also have a good knowledge base on who they are, why they should demand for things to be equitable, and what their role is in making it so.”

His talk, titled “KNOW THYSELF? Keys to the Pursuit of Excellence in the African American Community in the Age of New Black Activism,” will touch on the importance of black involvement in the medical community.

Hebert feels that his long and illustrious career as a medical practitioner has given him a unique, but vital, outlook on the current racial tensions and struggles against injustice in America, particularly among young, college aged people struggling to make a change.
“I see people at their worst,” Dr. Hebert said. “They tend to be very honest. You can’t lie to your plumber, your accountant, the police, your lawyer or your doctor. I get to find out how they [young people trying to make a change] are really feeling. It gives me more insight into the psyche of people that are wanting to do a lot of things, but they either don’t know how, or are too scared or defeated.”

Hebert’s appearance at the university is a continuation of CWU’s Social Justice and Human Rights Series. This year’s inaugural theme, Mass Incarceration and Racial Justice: Black and Brown Lives Do Matter, aims to educate Central’s community and initiate discussions about race. He will be meeting with students before his talk to discuss the importance of student academic achievement, activism and involvement on and off the campus.

“It’s a really great place for an open-minded discussion and I think that is what our country needs,” Dr. Hebert said about coming to the university to speak. “When you have someone that has an open mind, which is the college student, that’s the best group to get to make change in the world.”

That’s us, CWU!

(If it helps, he was named the best dressed man in Louisiana.)

Dr. Stefan Bradley – Coming Home With Something to Say

Director of African American Studies at Saint Louis University (SLU), longtime activism scholar and Yakima native, Dr. Stefan Bradley is coming home with something to say.

His upcoming talk, “Freedom and Beyond: Activism, Access and Achievement in the Age of Ferguson” about black student achievement and activism on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the CWU Wellington Event Center, has people in the area excited, Hype staff included.

“It’s my opportunity to share with people in the audience what the uprising in Ferguson looked liked at the ground level as a professor in the area,” Bradley said, referencing the fact that he had taken students from his classes out to the protests in Ferguson that followed the death of Michael Brown in March of 2014.

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Dr. Stefan Bradley

Bradley, also an associate professor of history at SLU, feels it is his responsibility as an educator and scholar to share his experience and passion for activism, particularly student activism, with those younger than him.

“It would be sinful of me to let the older generation sacrifice themselves and for me to not pay the favor forward to the younger generation. It would be wrong for me to not say something when I could,” Bradley earnestly explained, saying that he’s excited to come home with experiences to share.

“It’s about what we can do to motivate and inspire on a 21st century college campus,” Dr. Keith Champagne, associate dean of student development and success, said. “He knows that what’s happening outside of the campus can inform what happens on the campus. He’s someone they [students] can emulate and imitate.”

Champagne explained he’s excited students like Nina Caldwell, ASCWU vice president for legislative affairs and S.I.S.T.E.R.S. president, are taking an active roll in bringing speakers like Bradley to campus as part of the university wide Social Justice and Human Rights Series.

“I’ve always lived off this whole model that without knowledge, you’re ignorant,” Caldwell said. “If you don’t engage in these conversations, you’re living off a stereotype.”

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Nina Caldwell

Being a student is a lifelong endeavor, it takes constant listening, engaging and discussing to learn more about yourself and the world around you. Reading Dr. Bradley’s book, “Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s” is a good start to learning about student activism, but coming to his talk will work equally well. Hype staff will be there because we, like you, are excited to learn.

“The one thing I hope students get from it is empathy,” Caldwell said about her wishes for the event’s effect on her fellow students. “The more people we have on the topic, on the subject as a whole, the easier it is to have a resolution.”

This year’s Giving Tree was a fruitful harvest

When the Giving Tree was erected on Nov. 8, there were 362 tags dangling from the green, leafy limbs. Inscribed on each small piece of paper were the holiday wishes of boys and girls at elementary schools across Kittitas County.

A full month later, presents of all shapes and sizes now line the walls of the Center for Leadership and Community Engagement — the office that has sponsored the event for 18 years running. With today being the last day of the season to return gifts, the overflowing piles of gifts get bigger and bigger as people pour in with presents in hand.

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CLCE student programmers Binh Vo and Jasmine Gonzalez both worked on the Giving Tree this year. 

Some could say it’s a Christmas miracle. Others could say it’s not a miracle; it’s the goodwill and benevolence of the community giving to children at a time when they need it most. Not everyone gets to experience the holidays the same way, and it’s through the Giving Tree that the CLCE has ensured every kid — regardless of their family’s economic situation — receives a gift.

When I walked by the CLCE office, I was blown away by the literal piles of presents waiting to be distributed to children in the county. I could see the presents in the main entryway and in the bookcases to the left and right of the doorway, but what I couldn’t see were the larger piles of presents in the back of the office.

362 tags were taken within weeks of the Giving Tree going up, and while the CLCE doesn’t know how many presents have been returned yet, it’s safe to assume this year has been one of the best yet. People in the community are really giving Santa a run for his money.

So if you’re still waiting to return a gift for the Giving Tree event, remember to drop them off at the CLCE office by 5 p.m. today.

Oh, and happy holidays from CWU Hype!

Hallelujah – Nicole Lewis is coming to town

It’s been a long quarter of great music but can you believe it’s not even over yet? One of Washington’s biggest names in country music is headed to Central Washington University Wednesday, Nov. 18 when Nicole Lewis takes the stage.

To say she’s a country music powerhouse would be selling her short. Since graduating from Gonzaga in 2008, this owner of a heavenly voice has been writing and performing her own music in addition to performing some incredible covers.

To experience shome chills and perhaps shed a tear or two, check out her live performance of “Hallelujah” with Luke Yates.

After winning the “Gimme the MIKE!” TV competition and driving away in her new Toyota Camry, Lewis has been sharing stages with Ben Folds, Vicci Martinez and other notable musical acts. She’s also appeared on other TV music competitions such as “American Idol” and “The Voice.”

When she takes the stage at the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC) Pit tomorrow at 8 p.m. for her free concert, she’ll be playing music off her 2013 album, “My Kind of Paradise.”

Hits off the album such as “Hurricane” feature Lewis’ soft and sultry voice that can instantly ramp up as crashing guitars and steady drums fill the echo chamber with classic country music vibes.

It’s her acoustic sets, though, where Lewis’ impressive vocal range truly shines. Her ability to sing all kinds of different styles and pitches sets her apart from many other country music acts, and it doesn’t hurt that she could substitute in for Carrie Underwood or the Dixie Chicks without missing a beat.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see one of country music’s most impressive acts when Nicole Lewis rolls into town to play at the SURC Pit  Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.

The Zombie Bash: it will be a graveyard smash

Sometimes, Halloween can be so much fun that it leaves people feeling like zombies. Whether it’s too much candy, too much apple cider or a combination of the two, students are in luck because they’re invited to come out Saturday, Oct. 31 for a night so fun, it’s sure to be frightening. The SURC will be transformed into a zombie’s heaven starting at 9 p.m. and will be packed with events for any Halloween enthusiast. This event is for CWU students and their guests only, and all are free.

Zombie Bash

Zombie Bash Schedule of Events:

Zombie Zone

The Recreation Center will be closing, turning off all the lights and be overrun by the undead! In teams of four, players will enter the Zombie Zone and complete missions with the use of Nerf guns.

  • Recreation Center
  • 9 p.m. – midnight
  • Registration begins at 8:30 p.m. in front of the Information Center

Rob Zombie Zone

Inflatable obstacle course.

  • 9 p.m. – midnight 

Movie: Cooties

It’s cooties, but all grown up. A group of teachers fend off a swarm of elementary school students transformed into savages by a “cooties” virus. Starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson.

  • 10 p.m.
  • SURC Pit

Caricatures

Get a one-of-a-kind zombie caricature drawn for you and your friends.

  • Near SURC Pit
  • 9 p.m. – midnight

For more information contact Cherie Wilson, student union associate director, at 509-963-1350 or wilsonc@cwu.edu.

CWU B2B Represents at Regional Summit

The Student African American Brotherhood/Brother 2 Brother organization (SAAB/B2B) provides young men from all backgrounds a means of social and academic support; they’re passionate, compassionate, and they’re concerned about your collegiate success. Here at Central, the brotherhood is strong.

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Dr. Bledsoe and SAAB spokesperson Dondrė Whitfield. Photo credit: Mr. Tyree Vance, Advance Image

“When you walk through that door, we’re going to embrace you and validate you,” said SAAB founder and CEO Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe. “I don’t care what side of town you’re from or what your story is. I don’t care if you’re black, white, Latino or Asian. SAAB will embrace you.”

Welcome to Los Angeles

This past weekend (Friday, Oct. 16 through Sunday, Oct. 18) the CWU B2B chapter attended SAAB’s Western Regional Cluster Summit and 25th anniversary gala in Los Angeles. Being one of SAAB’s newest chapters, this was the first time the CWU members had a chance to meet and mingle with their brothers from other chapters.

Dr. Keith Champagne and Dr. Raymond Hall put tireless effort into bringing the SAAB/B2B organization to our campus, and last spring their vision was fully realized. Working in collaboration with SAAB’s national headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Champagne and Dr. Hall successfully established the first B2B collegiate chapter in the Northwest region, effectively connecting the CWU campus with a nation wide network of student and professional SAAB colleagues and mentors.

“Dr. Champagne and I both want to provide these young men something that gives them hope for the future,” said Hall. “This is what SAAB does; it gives students hope.”

“I think its history-making,” added Champagne. “We’re doing something they’re not doing at Washington State, University of Washington, Western or Eastern. We’re hoping to make history here.”

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Dr. Bledsoe, Dr. Hall, and Dr. Champagne at the reception.

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CWU SAAB Brothers swagged in their black suits.

“Saving Lives … Salvaging Dreams”

SAAB/B2B strives to be the premier organization of professional and academic support and mentorship in the country. They drive their members to strive for greatness. Their model is one of success, and they do not settle for mediocrity. To be a member of SAAB is to embrace these standards and to make a commitment to education and to achieve graduation.

Underprivileged young men are at a greater statistical risk of failure, and those who lack a strong network of support are even more at-risk. In 2005, only 11 percent of all enrolled college students were African American males, and an even more alarming statistic is the number of diplomas issued to African American males in that same year – a mere 7 percent. And this is not an issue of complacency or competency; it is an issue of support and opportunity.

These numbers have been on a steady increase over the last ten years, in part due to the work done by organizations like SAAB. By providing a model of love, inclusion, and relentless pursuit of its members’ success, SAAB serves as a foundation on which the academic structures of these young men can be built. Much like a house, the structure cannot stand without the foundation.

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The CWU crew at the anniversary celebration and gala.

Setting the Standard for 25 years and Counting

In 1990, Dr. Bledsoe established the organization’s first chapter at Georgia Southwestern State University. In 1996, SAAB extended its reach across state lines when it opened its second chapter on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. This was the start of the expansion of a program that would reach nation wide and find itself as the leading institution for academic support and philanthropy for underprivileged African American males. Now in its 25th year, SAAB has 320 chapters in 34 states and continues to expand.

SAAB’s mission is to provide positive intervention to promising young men who may otherwise lack support and opportunity. “We invest in those things we care about,” said Bledsoe. “We don’t want to replace your family, we want to be an extension of your family. We want you to graduate college, and what we provide is guidance. To quote the late Dr. King, ‘Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles but we have misguided men.’”

For more information about the CWU B2B chapter and to learn how to join the brotherhood, click here.