Chief Edward Shupp retires after 39 years with LUPD


Edward Shupp, the chief of the Lehigh University Police Department, has spent 39 years at Lehigh.

During that time, he experienced the Clery Case, emphasized the importance of student safety on and off campus and modernized the police force by adding security cameras across campus. Shupp has battled the issue of underage drinking throughout his tenure and believes the university helps to provide students with alternatives.

At age 60, Shupp plans to retire in January, before the end of the 2017-18 school year. He plans to move to California and work for the Professional Golfer’s Association. LUPD has yet to find a replacement for Shupp’s position, but it acknowledges the new chief will have large shoes to fill.

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  1. Thanks Chief Shupp for your hard work and dedication to improving and cultivating the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities! Wishing you all the best in your retirement.

  2. Too bad Chief Shupp’s legacy has been tarnished by the outright assault on students by his and Bethlehem’s police departments over the past few semesters, especially this past semester, when over 150 students were arrested. The “trust” between the police and the Lehigh community that he speaks so highly of and has worked so hard to build over the years has been shattered in a few short months, and will take a long time to rebuild. If the purpose of the crackdown was to cut down on alcohol abuse and alcohol-related hospitalizations, it has failed, and should be discontinued immediately since hospitalizations have increased and drinking has been driven even more underground than before. If the crackdowns continue into next semester, we can surmise that there is an ulterior motive here being driven by the administration (Simon, Farrell, Hall) to change the party culture at Lehigh through brute force, and at the expense of the unlucky ones who are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Lehigh can do better than this! The administration is being paid a lot of money to come up with innovative solutions to problems. Using bullies with badges is not one of them. Underage drinking on college campuses is, and will continue to be, a problem nationwide as long as the drinking age is 21. Instead of spending millions of dollars to “police” their own students, it is time Lehigh and other colleges use their vast resources to CHANGE the law, rather than ineffectively enforce a flawed one. Lower the drinking age to 18, bring drinking back into the open legally, bring parties back onto campus and out of off-campus basements – isn’t this what they claim they want to happen? Certainly there will be other issues to deal with as a result, but pick your poison. Deal with the reality that drinking will continue at colleges, and structure the laws and conduct provisions accordingly to allow for help for intoxicated students, education and counseling for those with abuse problems, and common-sense, enforceable rules. Stop turning otherwise good, bright, responsible, law-abiding ADULTS into criminals merely because they had a couple of beers. How ridiculous.

    Again, the administration is being paid BIG BUCKS to “think outside the box”, as they like to claim Lehigh’s students do. Hold them to the same standard they hold their students to! Maybe the time is ripe to revive The Amethyst Initiative (, or something similar. Perhaps Lehigh can lead a consortium of other top universities that can actually bring about meaningful change this time, as the problem clearly has not gotten better over the past ten years.

    • I understand, and somewhat with, your point about how more aggressive enforcement of the law doesn’t deter but rather drives students to subvert event more. That said, I think you’re glossing over a few key facts. First of all, your comment “Stop turning otherwise good, bright, responsible, law-abiding ADULTS into criminals merely because they had a couple of beers” is wrong. It’s flat out wrong. By definition, those who drink underage are not law abiding. Whether you or I agree with the law or not, our opinions don’t particularly matter. I recognize that whether it’s legal or not, underage drinking still goes on, and I also accept your opinion that the law should be changed. But until it is, the Bethlehem Police Department and the Lehigh University Police Department have a duty to enforce the law as it’s in effect today, not how it “ought” to be. Second, I think you’re conveniently forgetting the number of high risk hospital transports of Lehigh students, mainly but not exclusively freshmen, from alcohol use. Perhaps that increased enforcement drives underage students to drink more aggressively, which leads to more hospitalizations. But until the law is changed, what is your proposal? That in the face of record breaking hospital transport numbers, Lehigh administration should STOP intervening? Take that one step further to a student dying from alcohol poisoning or choking on his or her alcohol induced vomit or falling down a flight of steps while intoxicated. If you were that student’s parent, or better yet his or her parents’ attorney, wouldn’t the first question you would ask the University’s president and general counsel and chief of police and vice provost for student affairs what they were doing to combat high risk drinking knowing the severity of the problem on Lehigh’s campus? Would the answer that the University was hoping more lenient enforcement would encourage 18-22 year olds to self-monitor their alcohol use satisfy you? The point I’m trying to make is that you’re asking a school that has a responsibility to its students and their parents and a police department that has a responsibility to uphold the law to turn a blind eye to the law and high risk drinking, thinking that it will somehow change the behavior of intoxicated adolescents.

      • First, note that I prefaced “law-abiding” with “otherwise”, calling attention to the fact that their only illegal activity is having a few beers. I did not say they are not breaking the law, quite the opposite – I am pointing out that this is, in many cases, most students’ only brush with the law – which is one reason why I believe it should be changed. I also understand that the LUPD and BPD have a duty to enforce the law. However, they also have the ability to use discretion and judgment in their decisions concerning how and when to enforce these laws. Both departments have displayed incredible inconsistency over the years in their level and methods of enforcement, from looking the other way to unnecessarily (and unlawfully, I would argue) harassing students. This leads to confusion on the student’s part as to what is “safe” and “acceptable” behavior. Rather than assuming they can drink responsibly (albeit illegally) and still stay off of the police’s radar, many students now almost exclusively resort to “pre-gaming” with hard alcohol in their rooms and other private spaces, hidden from public view, with sometimes very dangerous consequences.

        Second, I did specifically address the high-risk hospital transports. It seems to me that as enforcement has increased over the past couple of years, so have hospital transports. Exactly why are the hospital transports “record breaking”, as you say? Is it because of the increased enforcement of underage drinking laws? I believe much of it is. If so, then yes, I believe the administration should stop intervening with the iron-fist tactics that are driving the students to drink more behind closed doors. Until the laws are changed, if ever, and believing that college-aged individuals will continue to find ways to obtain alcohol, I feel a more moderate enforcement approach is still the best. Police the exceptions – students calling attention to themselves by fighting, obvious drunken behavior, belligerence, injuries, etc. – rather than using the current zero-tolerance stance. Removing the fear of imminent arrest for even the slightest infraction would hopefully also remove some of the stigma associated with reporting abuse, harmful behavior, and medical emergencies.

        Obviously there is no easy fix to any of this, as evidenced by national headlines almost daily. However, the mixed message that one is legally an adult in some situations and not others needs to eventually be addressed by lawmakers on a national level. Unfortunately, the political climate is such that this will probably not happen anytime soon. In the meantime, there must be common sense applied to enforcement that does not exacerbate the situation and cause more harm than good. Chief Shupp stated earlier this semester that he wanted to “drastically increase the amount of citations given.” He was true to his word. Has that really helped the students, or merely the administration looking to shield itself from potential liability?

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