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“While No Official Grievance Has Been Filed . . . “. The Evolving Role of Community Policing on Campus Draft 6-1-10. Elizabeth Cahn. Planning and Community Outreach Coordinator, 2007-2010 Mount Holyoke College 2007+ Hampshire College 2008+ Smith College 2009+. Goals of Presentation.

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While no official grievance has been filed

“While No Official Grievance Has Been Filed . . . “

The Evolving Role of

Community Policing on Campus

Draft 6-1-10

Elizabeth cahn
Elizabeth Cahn

  • Planning and Community Outreach Coordinator, 2007-2010

    • Mount Holyoke College 2007+

    • Hampshire College 2008+

    • Smith College 2009+

Goals of presentation
Goals of Presentation

  • Community policing

    • Definitions

    • History

    • Challenges

  • Case studies

  • Outreach, complaints, profiling

  • Important lessons

Community policing
Community Policing

  • Definitions

  • History

Community policing1
Community Policing

  • Challenges

    • Time, scheduling, and definitions of productivity

    • Not all staff are equally skilled or interested

    • Campus community norms and values around police and authority vary enormously

    • Increased officer visibility may increase negative responses

Community policing2
Community Policing

  • Case Studies

    • Michigan State University, 1999

    • Harvard University, 2003

    • Mount Holyoke College

    • Hampshire College

    • Smith College

Mount holyoke model
Mount Holyoke model

  • Three elite undergraduate liberal arts colleges in western Massachusetts

    • Traditional college age populations

    • Millenial generation characteristics

    • Increasingly diverse campus communities

      • Gender and gender identities

      • Race, ethnicity, nationality

      • Sexual orientation

      • Intellectual and activist identities

Mount holyoke model1
Mount Holyoke model

  • Civilian outreach model – 1.0 FTE

    Four approximately equal parts --

    • Intradepartment work

    • Easy, obvious outreach

    • Extremely difficult outreach

    • What the community brings forward

Civilian outreach
Civilian Outreach

  • Intradepartmental work

    • Advise Director/Chief and Senior Command

    • Understand department functioning, strengths, and challenges

    • Know the staff and their concerns

    • Know policies and procedures that affect campus most strongly

    • Assist in identifying and developing trainings and outreach opportunities for others

Civilian outreach1
Civilian Outreach

  • Easy, obvious outreach

    • Work on sexual assault and domestic violence issues with other on-campus and off-campus groups

    • Work with student groups that are open to collaboration with public safety/police

    • Work with staff/faculty individuals and groups on campus safety

    • Create collaborative groups where possible

Civilian outreach2
Civilian Outreach

  • Extremely difficult outreach

    • Connect to groups that typically distrust police/public safety

      • Students of color, international and LGBT students

      • Faculty

      • Activists, anarchists

    • Connect to individuals who have reason to distrust police/public safety

      • Some will be part of organized groups, some not

Civilian outreach3
Civilian Outreach

  • Extremely difficult outreach

    • Systematic desensitization of the campus community to public safety/police

    • Enter spaces, places, meetings, events where a uniformed officer or high level public safety staff member will cause alarm

    • Connect to marginalized groups in a low-key way

    • Introduce profiling as a topic of concern to department as well as campus

Civilian outreach4
Civilian Outreach

  • What the community brings forward

  • Issues include

    • Presence of police/security on campus

    • Power and authority (including weapons)

    • Specific responses

    • Profiling and hate crimes

    • Triangulation of public safety/police into other campus issues and concerns

Civilian outreach5
Civilian Outreach

  • Disadvantages of civilian outreach

    • Finding the right person

    • Not fully identified with department

    • Has to earn trust of members of department

    • Trust will never be complete

    • Can be difficult to allow “outsider” access to

      • Training

      • Policy

      • Discipline

Civilian outreach6
Civilian Outreach

  • Advantages

    • Not fully identified with department

    • No uniform, no enforcement role or responsibilities

    • More able to gain trust of community members

    • Can represent department to the community in useful ways

    • Can engage community in self-critique around issues of authority and enforcement

Civilian outreach7
Civilian Outreach

  • Qualities of civilian outreach personnel

    • Excellent social skills

    • Excellent communication skills

    • Know something about public safety

    • Know your institution

    • Able to be in uncomfortable situations with people they don’t know

    • Able to tolerate incommensurable views of the world simultaneously

Special projects
Special Projects

  • MHACASA Collaboration, Mount Holyoke College, 2008-2009

    • Mount Holyoke College African and Caribbean Student Association participated in a year-long collaboration with DPS, including reciprocal social events, adoption of staff by students, and participation in public projects.

    • Student leadership helped minimize student reaction to allegations of profiling

Special projects1
Special Projects

  • Parking ticket study, Mount Holyoke College, 2008-2009

    • Member of the riding team analyzed two years of parking data for a class project

    • Research found that members of the riding team with cars on campus earn parking tickets at 2.5 times the rate of other MHC students with cars.

Special projects2
Special Projects

  • Multicultural Community and Campus Life Committee (MCCL), Mount Holyoke College, 2009-2010

    • Represented Department of Public Safety on campus-wide committee to address campus climate on diversity

    • Represented a different side of Public Safety to committee membership

    • Developed relationships with campus leaders on diversity

Special projects3
Special Projects

  • Transgender Policy and Training, Hampshire College, 2009-2010

    • Participated in public meeting about arrests

    • Engaged in long-term behind-the-scenes work with staff inside and outside department

    • Worked with student committee to create open forums about student rights

    • Met with individual students at Hampshire and Mount Holyoke for remainder of academic year

Special projects4
Special Projects

  • Community Relations Training, 2010

    • Developed training on community relations using the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. arrest by Sergeant James Crowley as a case study

    • Utilized Intergroup Dialogue methods

    • Two department staff are already trained as facilitators

    • Additional staff are being trained this year

Special projects5
Special Projects

  • Five College Public Safety Community Outreach group

    • Initiated cross-campus discussions about public safety and policing

    • Included public safety, police, deans, student life and multicultural affairs staff, and ombuds offices

    • Outreach to SGA leaders, student activities staff, local police departments, mental health counselors

Special projects6
Special Projects

  • Ideas I want to try

    • Community dialogue projects using Intergroup Dialogue methods with students, staff, faculty

    • Programming with ombuds staff on outreach, training, and response to incidents and allegations

    • Watch crime/legal TV shows with Dean of the College and Senior Detective


  • Every complaint is an opportunity

    • Respond formally and informally

  • Assess your campus issues

    • Voice the unspoken concerns

    • Work ahead of the complaints

    • Build a track record of responding

    • Publicize it every year

  • Engage and follow up


  • Be realistic about campus beliefs

    • Race-based values/experiences

    • Class-based values/experiences

    • Intellectual biases against police/authority

    • Activist biases against police/authority

  • Role of projection and fear

    • Personal, family, subculture, culture

    • Media and social media


  • Every bad cop anywhere who profiles reflects poorly on your department

    • Initiate topic and discussion of profiling

      • Definitions of profiling vary by standpoint

      • Educate about your policy and training

    • Complaints

      • Educate about how to file formal complaints

      • Respond quickly to informal complaints

      • Complaints may increase, at least for a time


  • Analytic frames are not equal

    • The people who feel safe don’t need to complain, and the people who don’t feel safe don’t feel safe enough to complain

  • Stay in the dialogue and follow up

  • Increased transparency and accountability go both ways

  • Hold your department and the campus community to a higher standard

Principles of outreach
Principles of Outreach

  • Do it or don’t do it

  • Run your department well

  • Be sincere, not perfect

  • Keep an educational focus

  • Build relationships for the long term

  • Reach out to key people, not everyone

  • Look for strategic opportunities

Principles of outreach1
Principles of Outreach

  • Show up in unexpected places and at unexpected times

  • Be respectful of community boundaries

  • If you can’t work directly, work indirectly

  • Connect to those who can translate

  • Plant seeds, water them, and wait

  • It’s not always who you know, but who knows you