U of I police training director resigns amid Blackwater controversy

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-119022447629194.jpg’, ”, ‘Tom Dempsey‘);

The director of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s (UIUC) Police Training Institute resigned Sept. 6 amid controversy ignited by his concurrent work with military contractor Blackwater USA, the Chicago Tribune reported Sept. 7.

After returning from Afghanistan, UIUC Police Training Institute Director Tom Dempsey submitted his resignation, effective Aug. 31. The Tribune reported: “Under the agreement, U of I will pay Dempsey $75,000 in severance and $12,000 to cover health insurance costs for a year, according to a copy obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. He also will be paid for all accrued and unused vacation days.”

The Tribune also reported, “The separation agreement, however, states that Dempsey ‘adhered by [university] policy regarding non-university employment and use of vacation time.’”

Former Marine Dempsey, 58, had served as the institute’s director since 2002, and was paid $118,178 per year by the university. In May 2007, he inked a personal deal with Blackwater USA while also signing a five-year partnership agreement between UIUC and Blackwater USA.

The university alleged Dempsey did not openly disclose his personal consulting arrangement with Blackwater USA.

In July and August, Dempsey used paid vacation time from UIUC to work for Blackwater USA in Afghanistan. According to the Tribune, Dempsey was “training Afghan anti-narcotics police in investigative techniques.”

According to a July 20 press release on Blackwater USA’s Web site (www.blackwaterusa.com), the partnership agreement between UIUC and Blackwater USA would provide an “exchange of faculty and instructors,” an “exchange of students,” “joint research efforts,” “participation in seminars and training and academic meetings,” “exchange of materials and information,” and “special short-term academic programs.”

UIUC Chancellor Richard Herman broke off the partnership in August. According to the Tribune’s Sept. 7 article, “no money had been exchanged, although the company stood to gain prestige by partnering with the highly regarded institute.”

A Sept. 2, 2002, article in Inside Illinois magazine welcoming “new faces” to the university described Dempsey as follows: “…is director of UI’s Police Training Institute. Dempsey has 18 years of practical law enforcement experience. He has spent 15 years developing, managing and delivering criminal justice programs and has written two textbooks and several journal articles. Education: M.S. and M.P.A., California State, Long Beach; B.S., Arizona State. Special interests: ethics, online protocols and internship programs.”

from the Sept. 19 – 25, 2007, issue

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