Department History

Oakland University Public Safety Building

Oakland University Public Safety c. 1975

The Oakland University (OU) Department of Public Safety was established in 1967 following the recommendation of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, which stated that nine police officers and twenty firefighters were required to ensure public safety.

Allen H. Andrews, Jr., Director of Public Safety for Grosse Pointe Woods and former Lieutenant in charge of uniformed police at Michigan State University, served as a consultant.

Despite an enrollment growth of almost 2,500, the Department of Public Safety started with only six officers.  In the face of budget austerity, the question of fire protection was pushed into the distant future.

The six-person staff allowed OU to have two officers on duty on each shift for three days a week and one person on duty on each shift for the other four days.  The small staff meant that officers routinely worked sixteen hours straight only having to return for their next regular shift after a break of only eight hours.

In its first full year of service, the Department of Public Safety responded to 743 calls for service with 10 assault and battery cases logged during a thirteen-day period in July.  Other calls that year included breaking and entering, grand larceny, petty larceny, car theft, liquor law violations, disorderly persons, delinquent persons, and drunk driving.

Thomas D. Strong served as OU’s first Director of Public Safety.  Strong served in the Navy and worked for the United States Secret Service prior to working for OU.

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