The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.
This article is one of a three-part data-driven series in which The Michigan Daily obtained and analyzed annual university Salary Disclosure Reports from 2002-2020. Salary Disclosure Reports are released every year from the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Budget Planning and other departments. You can find the other articles in this series here and here.
An analysis of the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security budget by The Michigan Daily revealed steady funding and total salary increases from 2013-2019, likely funded in part by student tuition.
“The important movements and calls for action we are seeing emphasize the need for us to do more to end systemic racism in our society and on our campuses,” Schlissel said.
While it is unclear to The Daily where all of the funding for DPSS comes from, Amy Dittmar, vice provost of academic and budgetary affairs and professor of economics and finance, told The Daily 38% of their budget comes from the General Fund, 74% of which is supplied by student tuition. Other General Fund funding comes from state of Michigan appropriations and sponsored research and goes towards departments across the University, including academics and financial aid.
A Daily data analysis found that in 2002, there were 59 police employees, meaning all police officers, sergeants, lieutenants and chiefs, with a median salary of $69,339.01 and a total salary combination of $4,502,660.01. By 2020, this increased to 85 police employees with a median salary of $80,958.86 and a total salary of $6,964,291.23. This marks a 44% increase in employee count, 16.8% increase in median salary and 54.7% increase in total salary. All monetary values have been adjusted for inflation, standardized to 2021.
In response to the murder of George Floyd last May and other police killings of Black Americans, hundreds marched through Ann Arbor neighborhoods, over a thousand people protested on the Diag and hundreds flooded Washtenaw Avenue, many of these protestors students at the University. These and similar demonstrations throughout the country prompted calls to defund the police.
University President Mark Schlissel applauded the demonstrators last June and said it was clear that the University was not immune to the racism community members were protesting.
History of and pushback against the Division of Public Safety and Security
DPSS was founded in 2012, the latest of many previous iterations of campus police at the University. DPSS departments include the U-M Police Department, University Security Services, Michigan Medicine Security, Housing Security, Emergency Management, Communications & Technology Management and Business Administration.
“The task force’s areas of focus include understanding the past and current structure of DPSS, examining how DPSS engages with stakeholder and constituent communities, exploring personnel and human resource practices within DPSS, engaging in outreach and gathering new data related to DPSS and determining benchmarks and identifying best practices for public safety outside of the university,” University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an email to The Daily.
According to LSA senior Thomas Vance, a member of the task force, the task force is more focused on police reform rather than defunding or disbanding police on campus.
“The vibe at the meeting was very off,” Vance said of the first meeting in January. “It was very reform-focused, rather than having emphasis on replacing and abolishing.”
So far, the task force has hosted two public forums, collected feedback through a community engagement survey and is scheduled to deliver a final, public report to Provost Collins by the end of the month. The task force’s preliminary recommendations will be shared April 21.
Salaries and staffing increases within DPSS
From 2013 to 2020, the total annual salary of all DPSS employees combined increased by 17.21%. In 2020, the median salary for DPSS employees across the three U-M campuses was $48,212.40. Within DPSS, police department employees have a median salary of $80,958.86, $30,000 greater than the median salary for all DPSS employees. Security services employees have a median salary of $89,061.07.
The median annual salary of all DPSS Police Department employees is 50.7% higher than the overall DPSS median salary, and the Department of Security Service’s median annual salary is 59.5% higher. Guest services, housing security and museum security have the lowest median salaries of the 12 departments.
DPSS has also seen a 16.4% increase in its number of employees from 272 in 2013 to 433 in 2020. Michigan Medicine Security (104 employees), Guest Services (86 employees) and the Police Department (67 employees) employ the most people and have the largest total salaries.
Since 2013, the sizes of Michigan Medicine Security, Museum Security and Guest Services have all increased. The DPSS Police Department has decreased in size, but police are sometimes categorized under other departments from year to year, so this decrease does not necessarily mean police department employees left the University or were fired.
In 2020 DPSS received $12,554,036.88 for salaries and other expenses from the University. To contextualize the appropriation of funds to DPSS, The Daily looked into how much money is allocated to other organizations at the school.
The Ford School of Public Policy, which employs 138 people, received $13,874,746.19 from the University in 2020, slightly more than DPSS. The entire School of LSA, which employs 3,303 people, received $455,547,436.72 from the General Fund.
From 2013 to 2020, DPSS experienced a 4.7% increase in median salary. Of the 19 schools and colleges at the University, five had larger increases in median annual salary than DPSS.
Fitzgerald wrote the General Fund allocation to DPSS has grown at a lesser rate than the general fund budget grew overall.
“The compound annual growth rate of the general fund allocation to the DPSS budget over the past three years is 2.9 percent, while the general fund’s overall compound annual growth rate for the same time period is 3.8 percent,” Fitzgerald wrote. “In fact, the (DPSS) allocation actually decreased by nearly 1 percent this year.”
Fitzgerald wrote the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion should not be evaluated by comparing salaries of DPSS officers to staff in academic departments.
“The job markets for police officers and other DPSS personnel are unrelated to the job markets for faculty members,” Fitzgerald wrote. “The comparison is apples and orange. Comparing the median salary of staff in DPSS with the median salary of all staff positions within academic units is especially problematic given the wide range of staff positions across campus compared to those in DPSS. Staff positions across campus require a variety of skill sets and thus a wide range in respective salary for the positions.”
Fitzgerald explained some of the services DPSS provides.
“It’s important to know that DPSS provides the campus community with a wide range of public safety and security services,” Fitzgerald wrote. “DPSS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In addition to the Police Department, DPSS is responsible for security for university housing, Michigan Medicine and the university’s museums; campus dispatch services and emergency management services, among other functions.”
DPSS compared to AAPD and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office
The Daily obtained salary data on the Ann Arbor Police Department from Ann Arbor city salary reports and salary data on the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office from the Washtenaw County website to contextualize DPSS salaries with nearby police departments as accurately as possible between 2015 and 2019.
From 2015 to 2019, DPSS saw a 10.41% increase in employment, while AAPD employment increased by 8.8% and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office saw a 1% increase. By 2019, the median salary for DPSS employees was $49,660, compared to AAPD’s, which was $89,881, and the Sheriff’s Office’s, which was $62,884.
However, in terms of cumulative annual salary change from 2015 to 2019, DPSS’s increased by 9.7% (more than $2 million), AAPD’s increased by 6% (about $900,000) and the Sheriff’s Office’s decreased by 2.3% (about $400,000). During this time, the median salary for AAPD and Sheriff’s Office employees both decreased, while DPSS’s increased. While the AAPD median salary has always remained higher than DPSS and the Sheriff’s Office, DPSS had the largest increase in annual salary spending.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 the mean annual wage of Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers was $70,953, the mean annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers who work at colleges and universities was $60,604 and the mean annual salary for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Michigan was $61,111.
The mean annual salary of standard DPSS campus police officers (excluding sergeants, lieutenants and chiefs) was $75,295 in 2020.
University and community reaction
Fitzgerald explained the many job market factors that affect wages offered by the University.
“The wages that the University pays for any particular position are affected by many factors in the job market,” Fitzgerald wrote. “The wages the University offers to DPSS employees are the wages needed to compete with similar positions in the market at similar levels. The University aims to attract and retain top candidates to U-M.”
Given that a portion of DPSS’s budget is likely supplied by student tuition, The Daily talked to students about the funding of DPSS. LSA freshman Darya Lollos said she felt the University increasing funding to DPSS over much of the last decade using student tuition would be unethical if true.
“Especially since it is (likely) coming out of our tuition, and because it is against students’ wishes,” Lollos said. “I think that if they had asked if we approved of it or like sent out a survey or something that would have been better, but generally I think it’s not ethical.”
Lollos said she felt increases to the DPSS budget would reflect poorly on the University’s commitment to DEI and would go against the University’s purported values.
“Considering that a lot of the criticism of the police has been the unfair targeting of people of color, especially African American people, and considering that it’s a statistical thing that a lot of police do tend to target people of color unfairly, and considering that the University has committed themselves to being more inclusive, and increasing diversity and equity and inclusion, it’s a little bit counterintuitive,” Lollos said.
LSA freshman Ashvin Pai, Central Student Government representative, said he was not too surprised to learn about the increased funding of DPSS throughout the years.
“It shows where the priorities of the University are,” Pai said. “I think the numbers are really kind of telling when you compare it to the Lecturers’ Union who have been bargaining and fighting so hard just for pay parity and to get a livable wage. Meanwhile, we are putting so much money towards DPSS funding. In my opinion at least, that’s the opposite direction that we should be taking.”
Fitzgerald said wages for DPSS are determined through collective bargaining, similar to the wages of graduate students and lecturers.
“The wages of our police officers are negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement,” wrote. “The agreement was originally scheduled to expire last year, but it was extended one year without a wage increase.”
Pai said he felt it would be unfair to continue increasing DPSS funding and salaries, likely using student tuition, amid student calls to defund the police.
“Especially because student calls to defund the police are centered in a feeling that the police do not help make us safer and in fact, for certain minority students, they make the campus a more hostile environment,” Pai said.