Stanford Historical Society and Devaney, Patricia L.
Marvin L. Herrington, former chief of police at Stanford, continues a previous discussion about the “times of turmoil” at Stanford, describing student protests against the Vietnam War, mandatory draft, racism, and the feminist movement.
Campus visits by foreign dignitaries are mentioned, including Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit supported by Russian guards and the Secret Service, who searched “11,000” visitors. The Gerald Ford presidential visit was described. Lynette Fromme, who eventually shot President Ford, was described as being on campus without a weapon during Ford’s visit. Mr. Herrington also described a visit by the Queen of England who arrived in a storm that toppled nearby redwoods. He identified the Stanford Band as being “the most frightening thing” about the visit until they became a “big asset.”
The chief described being visited by almost every living president (i.e. Ford, Carter, Clinton, Reagan) and the Secret Service details that held the campus “to a high standard” of enforcement. He discussed the 1991 Stanford Centennial with a visit by then California governor Pete Wilson, who spoke at the site where Leland Stanford gave the inaugural address. He commented on the unexpected protest by gay and lesbian rights groups that threw oranges while taunting the line of officers protecting the governor. He described the dedication of the Hoover Institute by then California governor Ronald Reagan and the actress, Shirley Temple. He also described the visit of then President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton with their freshman daughter Chelsea when she enrolled at Stanford.
Mr. Herrington described planning for the World Cup with soccer crowd attendance averaging about “83,000 a day.” He referenced hosting Olympic athletes in 1984, the Super Bowl in 1985, and the Chinese ping pong match before US-China relationships were established. He reviewed varied foreign security details, including the KGB who were “curious about everything.” He mentioned hosting French President Mitterrand. He went on to discuss concerts including The Grateful Dead at Stanford. The chief discussed drug use in students as well as a theft of “100” rare books by a graduate student who slid the books out a hole he made in the library wall. Interpol was involved after the thief fled to Europe. The chief also spoke of a 1973 theft of dorm supplies with a video-taped sting that netted 2 Stanford fraternity boys.
Finally, the chief talked of his long career, evolving from being considered a “pig” by profession to a highly regarded member of the campus community. He attributed this change to his open door policy, stating, “My door was always open, open to anybody that had a problem.”
Marvin L. Herrington, peace officers, Stanford Police Department, Vietnam War, student protests, and Queen Elizabeth II
January 14, 2013
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012