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Update on the Penn Public Safety Review and Outreach Initiative Recommendations

As published in the Almanac on 9/21/21, an update on the Penn Public Safety Review and Outreach Initiative Recommendations.

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We are pleased to provide the community with a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Penn Public Safety Review and Outreach Initiative, which began its work in August 2020 and issued its recommendations in April 2021, after extensive consultations across the Penn and West Philadelphia communities. These recommendations centered on four goals: increase transparency; increase accountability; develop new approaches to ensure the safety, well-being, and belonging of the Penn and West Philadelphia communities; and invest more in campus and West Philadelphia initiatives that promote safety, well-being, and belonging and do not involve police. The Division of Public Safety has embraced these recommendations and developed new processes and procedures to implement them. We will provide further progress reports to the community as this implementation continues to move forward.

— Craig Carnaroli, Senior Executive Vice President
— Beth Winkelstein, Interim Provost

Update from the Division of Public Safety on the Penn Public Safety Review and Outreach Initiative Recommendations

In the spring and summer of 2020, many questions arose across the country about the role of policing in society. President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett and Senior Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli launched the Penn Public Safety and Outreach Initiative to explore the question of how we best advance a safe and welcoming campus, which we hold as an unwavering priority. How do we ensure fairness, justice, and racial equity in police interactions both on Penn’s campus and in our neighboring community?

To lead the initiative, Penn named as advisors: Dorothy Roberts, the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, and Professor of Africana Studies; and Rev. Charles “Chaz” Howard, Vice President for Social Equity and Community and University Chaplain. They were supported by: John Holloway, Associate Dean of the Penn Carey Law School and Executive Director of the Penn Carey Law School’s Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice; and Paul Heaton, the Quattrone Center’s Senior Fellow and Academic Director.

The following four (4) pillars were established as a measurement of how we at the Division of Public Safety provide safety and security to the Penn, University City and West Philadelphia communities:

  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Reimagine
  • Reinvest

This report provides an update on the work that has been accomplished to date by the Division of Public Safety in support of the pillars.

Transparency

Website Project

On July 1, 2021, DPS launched the DPS Transparency Website. Included on this website are several Penn Police Policies and Procedures, including police directives, explaining department policies on use of force and monthly analyses of pedestrian and vehicle stops, the memorandum of understanding with the Philadelphia Police Department, and officer code of conduct requirements. Additional information includes, but is not limited to:

  • 2020 CALEA Reaccreditation Report, which includes data on pedestrian and vehicle stops;
  • Department equipment and fleet information;
  • Expanded information on the complaint process;
  • Expanded information on the hiring process for new officers; and
  • Information on the varied types of officer training, including a twenty (20) year lookback of our DEI training.

Expanding Outreach Programs

Public Safety is working with College House and Academic Services (CHAS) to expand upon our long-standing DPS Liaison Program. We will strengthen our outreach and conversations with college house students and staff with trained staff on the nation’s current state of police and citizen relations, utilizing trained Penn Police personnel in business casual attire.

Public Safety is also enhancing and expanding our outreach to West Philadelphia community organizations by designating our Commanding Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the point person for communicating on neighborhood concerns.

Accountability

DPS Advisory Board

A new structure for an expanded DPS Advisory Board will include three (3) seats for members of West Philadelphia neighborhood, a seat for the University Wellness Officer, and others. This new structure will also include additional seats for rotating members from other areas of the Penn community while continuing to include seats for the Health System, student organizations, and our cultural resource centers. Invitations to join the board will come from the Senior Executive Vice President. Additionally, Rev.William Gipson of the Office of Social Equity and Community has agreed to serve as chair of the Advisory Board for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Complaints Against Police

For the past 13 years, the DPS Advisory Board has assisted Penn Police on reviewing and updating the complaint process. Public Safety has presented to the DPS Advisory Board its detailed annual review of complaints that were filed against officers. An annual statistical summary of complaints continues to be found on our Police Complaint Procedure page.

As a part of DPS’s expanded outreach goal, the Commanding Officer of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Captain Nicole McCoy has met with all cultural resource centers, College House directors, and West Philadelphia neighborhood associations to refresh and inform them about the complaint process, including the various places and methods by which one can file a complaint.

Community Survey

Public Safety will be working with the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis to develop a survey to gather feedback from our Penn and West Philadelphia community on Penn’s commitment to safety in University City. We will consult with University faculty experts on distribution methods.

Reimagine

New Co-Responder Pilot 

DPS has held discussions with Wellness, Penn Medicine, University Life, Director of the African American Resource Center Valerie Dorsey Allen, Dean Sally Bachman of the School of Social Policy and Practice, and others on creating a new co-responder model for those in mental health crisis and in need of social services. In meeting with Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé and the new Executive Director of Student Health and Counseling Bill Adelman, the team is exploring expanding our existing mental health co-responder model to include a CAPS counselor to ride with a specially trained Penn Police Officer wearing a soft uniform to be the first responders on mental health calls for service. This new Crisis Response Unit (CRU) would be modeled on our Alternative Response Unit, which we currently use to respond to low acuity medical emergencies.

Reinvest

PAL Partnership

In 1997 Penn partnered with the Philadelphia Police Athletic League (PAL) to create the Philadelphia Police/Penn Police Tucker PAL Center. The center has a Penn supported endowment. The center was last located at 4040 Ludlow Street. Due to the sale of this privately-owned property, the PAL Board and Penn are in search of a new location for this center. Penn pays the salary of a full-time Penn Police Officer to co-lead the Tucker PAL Center. The personnel cost for the Penn PAL Officer averages $72,000 per year plus benefits.

City-wide PAL centers are invited to bring PAL children annually to PAL Day at the Palestra, PAL Day at the Ice Rink, Penn Relays events, and Pottruck climbing wall trips, just to name a few programs offered at Penn.

Conclusion

In summary, the Division of Public Safety, in concert with the Penn, University City and West Philadelphia communities, is committed to expanding our efforts on these four (4) pillars, in order to create a welcoming and safe community for all.

 

—Maureen S. Rush, MS, CPP
Vice President for Public Safety
Superintendent of Penn Police

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