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O’Hear named new chair of MUPD advisory board

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O’Hear named new chair of MUPD advisory board

Michael O'Hear was named new chair of the MUPD advisory board. 

Marquette Wire stock photo.

Michael O'Hear was named new chair of the MUPD advisory board. Marquette Wire stock photo.

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Michael O'Hear was named new chair of the MUPD advisory board. Marquette Wire stock photo.

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio

Michael O'Hear was named new chair of the MUPD advisory board. Marquette Wire stock photo.

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Marquette University and President Michael Lovell appointed professor of law Michael O’Hear to be the new chair of the Marquette University Police Department Advisory Board. O’Hear assumed the position Friday.

The MUPD Advisory Board’s purpose is to bring together different people from the Marquette community, including faculty, students and off-campus community members, in order to help guide the Marquette University Police Department in policy, procedure, and activity, MUPD Capt. Jeff Kranz said. 

“It’s just nice to have another set of eyes looking at what it is we do and (it) adds to our transparency, and that’s kind of how we want to be,” Kranz said. “They review our policy, ask us questions, hold us accountable for the decisions we are making, and it gives us input and insight from outside of the department when we are creating policies.”

O’Hear said the advisory board doesn’t have any direct power, but it is called upon for advice.

Tom Hammer, professor and former chair of the advisory board, was the first to serve in the role since the board’s formation in 2015. He recommended O’Hear for the position.

“Tom was ready to step down from that chair position and because he and I know one another — he knows my interests and background— he thought I would be a good replacement,” O’Hear said. 

O’Hear said the advisory board has been involved in the development of policies by the Marquette Police Department, and he said he would expect the police department to continue to consult with the advisory board when the department is considering any major policy changes in the future.

“President Lovell and others in administrative leadership positions in the university can feel free to consult with the advisory board as well if they perceive there to be issues relating to policing in and around campus,” O’Hear said. 

The chair of the advisory board runs the meetings, usually held four times a year, as well as sets an agenda for the advisory board meetings, O’Hear said.

O’Hear has not only taught criminal law at Marquette for nearly two decades, but he was also previously involved in the Milwaukee City Fire and Police Commission for six years. He was appointed in 2010 by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

“I have experience with the oversight of a large urban police department, so I think that background also is very pertinent to the work of the MUPD, although certainly the MUPD is a much smaller police department with a somewhat different mission than the city police department,” O’Hear said.

O’Hear’s experience being on a police oversight board will bring an interesting perspective to the advisory board, Kranz said.

“I think he’s going to bring a good wealth of knowledge and experience to that position,” Kranz said. “We’re still relatively new, so it’s always good to have somebody else doing the review, just to make sure we’re headed in the right direction and doing things right.”

O’Hear said he is looking forward to being an independent voice that people at the university and MUPD can consult with, as well as participating in important conversations about policing on campus.

“I hope to be able to, based on my background and interests, contribute in a constructive way to those conversations,” he said.

O’Hear said he is looking forward to working with Hudson, whom he interacted with while a part of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

“I think (Hudson is) great,” O’Hear said. “I think she will be a terrific leader for the Marquette Police Department, and I certainly look forward to working with her again, with both of us in a new role.”

Hudson said she also is excited to work with O’Hear.

From my experience with professor O’Hear during his work with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, I know him to be knowledgeable in law enforcement and community matters,” Hudson said. 

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