Loyola police officers accused of ignoring safety concerns


Maroon file photo

Ava Acharya, Managing Editor for Digital

After leaving Loyola’s Mercy Hall on Sept. 28, history sophomore Lily Broussard said that they were shocked to see a powerline behind the building near Calhoun Street burst into flames. Broussard said they were even more shocked at the Loyola University Police Department’s response to the situation as, they said, the officers seemed unconcerned about student safety.

Although the fire that Broussard witnessed extinguished itself almost immediately, eight days later, on Oct. 6, Loyola sent an alert to students that said that a live electrical line was on the ground near the hall. The alert advised students to avoid the area between Calhoun and LaSalle streets, close to Mercy Hall. An alert sent out fifty minutes later informed students that classes in Mercy Hall had been canceled for the rest of the day due to concerns associated with the line.

Loyola deputy chief of police Daniel Spangler said that the specific powerline location behind Mercy Hall has previously had similar issues. He said that in all previous instances both Entergy and the New Orleans Fire Department were contacted. He said that he does not know the specific steps previously taken in regards to the powerline.

Broussard reached out to The Maroon after receiving this alert because they felt that, as the situation became more dangerous, the officer’s actions seemed more unprofessional.

Broussard said that their interaction with the officers made them feel like they were being talked down to.

“(The officers) were just being pretty condescending to me and acting like I didn’t know anything,” they said.

Broussard said that the officers seemed unconcerned about the fire they witnessed. They said this made them feel like a risk to student safety was ignored.

Broussard added that the officers seemed more concerned about whether or not Broussard was a student, rather than addressing the issue at hand.

Spangler said that while officers may need to take someone’s information in order to properly document the situation, it was “not really” necessary in this case.

“I certainly do not want anyone having negative interactions with my officers,” Spangler said. In response to Broussard’s concerns, he said that behavior which might have seemed “condescending” may have been the officers’ attempts to control a high-stress situation.

“Nonetheless, I would certainly extend my apology to the student who felt they were treated unprofessionally by my officers,” he said.

Broussard said that they contacted both LUPD and the fire department and was assured by LUPD that their office would call Entergy to sort out the situation. Broussard said that when they drove past this same area about thirty minutes after reporting the fire on Sept. 28, they did not see officers or any other officials on the scene.

According to Spangler, LUPD did contact Entergy, and a Loyola officer stayed at the scene until it was deemed safe.

Editor’s note: this article was originally published in October of 2022, and re-published in May of 2023.