Ministry of Public Security implements changes, new training

The Tufts Department of Public Safety announcement recent changes made to address Tufts’ recommendations as an anti-racist institution initiative in an October 19 email to the Tufts community. In addition to an updated mission statement and core values, changes include an expansion of training for all Tufts University Police Department officers, the addition of campus security officers no longer armed and a new position to support communication.

Public Safety Executive Director Yolanda Smith notes that the process of making changes to the department is ongoing and has focused on both internal staff feedback and community feedback.

“We drew on community expectations of our department, incorporated feedback from forums and surveys that were part of the TUPD Arming Outreach Task Force, and interviewed DPS members for input and buy-in,” Smith wrote in an email to The Daily. “We heard from community members that they want the TUPD to be more transparent and communicative, to increase training on implicit bias, empathy and public safety that is fair for all, and to reduce interactions with armed officers.”

To improve transparency, two new positions were created: a communications officer to keep the community informed and a campus security officer to coordinate unarmed personnel.

The Student Prison Education and Abolition Coalition has advocated for disarmament and the eventual abolition of police presence on campus. Club member Carl The, who uses the pronouns they and he, acknowledged the benefits of some changes while noting that others seem superficial.

“Another one [SPEAC] The MP mentioned that what is big and scary about a police car is not the way they look, but the fact that they are police cars,” they said, referring to the new design. of the police car.

As the addition of campus security guards moves the campus toward SPEAC’s goal of disarmament, The was concerned about adding additional guards to Tufts.

“CSOs, who are campus security guards…mean they are unarmed and have different training than police officers,” he explained. “It goes towards disarmament. It is not abolition, but disarmament.

Ariana Chiarenza, who now serves in the new position of communications officer for the Department of Public Safety, hopes to increase transparency by regularly updating the community on the work being done by the DPS.

“I want to be able to communicate any changes we make while maintaining strong ties with various departments and groups across all four campuses,” she wrote in an email to The Daily. “I’m always happy when I can update the community on changes within DPS because I know it’s vital that we remain transparent.”

According to The, SPEAC has been working on improving communication with DPS through Chiarenza.

“We tried to gather more information directly from the TUPD, so we spoke to Ariana,” they said. “I think more transparency…and being able to talk to students with more clarity and less bureaucracy [is] necessary.”

This community feedback played a role in guiding departmental change. Past feedback led to expanded training on healing and empathy for officers this summer. While the bulk of annual officer training comes from the Massachusetts Police Training Board, the DPS has sought other sources to supplement mental health and active engagement training.

“Jen Previti, Tufts Threat Assessment Manager, is a licensed social worker. She and Captain Mark Roche provided additional Mental Health First Aid training,” Smith wrote. “The Active Supervision Training Program is delivered by ABLE (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) of the Georgetown Law Center for Innovations in Community Safety. The TUPD and the Office of Emergency Management collaborated on this training. »

The planned addition of a mental health response comfort dog has been well received by The.

“Comfort dog – I’m very excited about this, and I think it’s a good addition,” he said. “I’m not sure how I feel about this coming from TUPD instead of somewhere like [Counseling and Mental Health Services].”

Community members will have the opportunity to give their opinion on a name. In addition to a survey to help name the comfort dog, DPS is developing a new feedback survey to be released next fall with help from the Office of Institutional Research.

“The survey will allow community members to tell us how we are doing – good, bad or indifferent,” Smith wrote. “We are committed to being adaptable, forward-thinking and providing the best possible service to our community.”