Andrew Ringle, Executive Editor
VCU will adapt its public safety model to include a civilian oversight committee, increased staffing of mental health professionals and a new public safety site with body camera footage and complaints of excessive force, according to a university release.
“The health and safety of our community is a critical priority,” the statement read. “We must cultivate an environment in which we all can thrive as students, faculty, staff, researchers, patients and health care providers.”
The shift in VCU’s public safety model addresses issues with law enforcement’s treatment of ethnic, racial, gender and sexual minorities, the statement read. Here’s a breakdown of what the new model will include:
- Civilian oversight committee. The committee will meet regularly to monitor the results of VCU’s transition from policing to health and safety, and inform university decisions. Suggestions on how to seat the committee may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or through this form.
- Increased mental health staff. The VCU Police Department will be realigned to place mental health professionals in situations that don’t require armed officers. Safety, outreach and wellness staff will be increased.
“All of these specialists will work collaboratively as a team and exercise a critical role in the safety and well-being of our community,” the statement signed by President Michael Rao and 13 administrators read.
- New policies and continued training. VCU will seek additional police training regarding crisis intervention, de-escalation and implicit bias awareness. VCU Police will participate in the One Mind Campaign, an initiative focused on improving interactions between police officers and those affected by mental illness.
- Public safety dashboard. In addition to the department’s current reports and crime logs site, VCU Police will release officer complaints and body camera footage to increase transparency. Department use of force and resolution as well as excessive use of force complaints will also be listed on the dashboard.
VCU will release updates regarding the new public safety model this summer, according to the statement. Feedback on the university’s plan can be shared at go.vcu.edu/safetymodel.