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Campus Safety: Is Your Campus Defunding Police?

The recent calls to defund the police in major cities are now extending to many campuses. Is this a good trend or something that will backfire?


The defund the police movement is being considered or implemented at school districts in:


New York City

Minneapolis

Portland

Denver

Seattle

Los Angeles

Philadelphia

Rochester

Memphis


Also included are higher education institutions such as:


University of Minnesota

UMass Boston

Clark University

Northwestern University

Columbia University

New York University

Johns Hopkins University

Yale

Harvard

University of Chicago


(Note: It appears some of the discussions to move budget dollars away from school resource officer programs or campus safety departments are included in larger budget discussions regarding cities and school districts which are already losing money due to decreased tax revenues).


According to Campus Safety magazine, schools may already be doing many of the things called for by activists, including:

  • Mental health training

  • Verbal de-escalation training

  • Implicit/unconscious bias training

  • Sexual violence training

  • Community policing

The magazine says keeping Mutual Aid Agreements with local law enforcement agencies is important.


Getting back to the issue of funding, one of the more troubling aspects of the George Floyd protests is the demand for some colleges and school districts to no longer work with local law enforcement. Mutual aid agreements between campus and local police help keep campus public safety costs down because the agreements enable two (or more) departments to share resources. If campuses do away with these agreements, they can expect their public safety costs to increase.


Additionally, if campus public safety doesn’t work with local law enforcement on training and help them with things such as learning the layout of the campus, during active shooter attacks, which are statistically rare but do happen with greater frequency in America, local police will be much less effective in rendering aid to the school or university. When this (or something much worse) happens, then you’ll see the pendulum swing back where parents are clamoring for more law enforcement on campus. Litigation and large payouts to victims and victims’ families will inevitably follow.


The magazine opines the success of campus police departments rests on training, hiring the right officers, and finding the right balance of addressing systemic racism and public safety.


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