The UC Community Safety Plan published today (Aug. 16) by the UC Office of the President adopts a number of reforms already implemented or well under way at UC Davis, said Joseph Farrow, the UC Davis police chief and coordinator of chiefs for the UC system.
The lead reform calls for an independent police accountability board at each campus to promote accountability and communication between the campus community and police. These will be modeled on UC Davis’ Police Accountability Board, established in 2014 and the first of its kind on a university campus in California.
“Once implemented we will have 10 police departments with boards providing complete civilian oversight and advice,” Farrow said.
Additionally, the plan calls for UC police departments to seek accreditation by the International Association for Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. UC Davis and UCSF are so far the only two campuses to have embarked on the three-year, intensive process to become accredited.
In line with the recommendations, UC Davis police are already in the process of developing a tiered approach to incidents that involve mental health professionals and other nonsworn staff as appropriate, rather than sending armed officers to noncrime-related or medical emergency calls. Aggie Host student employees, the campus CORE officers and the UC Davis Fire Department are now answering many service calls on the Davis campus.
The Police Department is also raising transparency, working with the Office of Finance, Operations and Administration to develop online tools to increase public awareness of police involvement and data.
Chief Farrow took part in planning two symposia on campus safety earlier this year that informed the UC Community Safety Plan but was not involved in writing the plan itself.
President announces systemwide plan
In announcing the UC Community Safety Plan (previously called the Presidential Campus Safety Plan), President Michael V. Drake released this video and the following letter today:
To the University of California community:
Today, we stand together at a pivotal moment in history. Recent events in our streets and our courts have catalyzed a powerful examination of policing, race and systemic injustice in America. As an epicenter for social movements and research that serves the public good, the University of California has never shied away from challenging conversations about systems and practices that perpetuate racism, inequality or injustice.
As we continue to examine how our nation — and our institutions — can do more to live up to our highest values of fairness and justice, UC has been engaged in a systemwide effort to reimagine our approach to campus safety and security. Drawing on extensive input from campus safety task forces and a UC-wide symposia on safety and security, as well as feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders, we have developed a plan that I believe will help us meet this moment and build a university community that is safe and welcoming for all.
This plan represents a transformational change for UC toward a more data-driven, service-oriented, community-centric approach to campus safety. Under this new model, a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, campus police, social service providers, police accountability boards and other personnel will work together to prioritize the well-being of the entire UC community. This reimagined structure will ensure that the most appropriate responders are deployed to meet our community’s specific needs with tailored care, resources and services. This integrated, holistic approach to safety and security is a significant cultural shift for UC, and one that will require all of us working together with open hearts and minds.
This plan also puts in place important new measures to ensure accountability and transparency in how UC approaches campus safety. New advisory bodies that reflect our diverse campus communities will provide independent oversight. A new centralized data dashboard will track the progress we’re making across the system, giving us the information we need to answer timely questions and continually improve. Finally, new real-time platforms will empower anyone to provide immediate feedback on interactions with campus safety staff.
These improvements do not represent the end of this conversation at UC. This community-driven plan is designed to be a living document that we will continue to update and adapt together, taking into account the latest information and data. Looking forward, I have asked each UC Chancellor to appoint an individual or team to manage ongoing implementation of these guidelines. The UC Office of the President will also designate a full-time position to monitor and support systemwide implementation of this plan, while ensuring it continues to meet the evolving needs of each UC location.
I am deeply grateful to everyone who contributed their time, energy and perspective to this planning process, and I hope that the entire UC community will stay engaged as we continue to improve our campus safety practices. I know these are deeply personal issues for many of you — as they are for me — and we won’t always agree on the best way to proceed. But I know we can make meaningful progress by continuing to listen, collaborate and refine our approach as a UC family. Creating a more just and equitable world will always be a work in progress. But this is an essential step forward in building the welcoming, inclusive and safe environment that our university deserves.
Michael V. Drake, M.D.
President, University of California
- Andy Fell, News and Media Relations, 530-304-8888, firstname.lastname@example.org