We would like to thank the members of the University of Michigan Advancing Public Safety Task Force for their passion and commitment to enhancing public safety for all members of our campus community. The Task Force members dedicated time outside of their jobs and personal lives to examine a complex and critical topic and for that we are appreciative.
In order to maintain a safe and secure campus environment, it’s crucial to partner with our community. We rely on their cooperation to provide information about crime and safety issues. Providing safety services while there is a lack of trust in our profession makes both community members and public safety professionals less safe.
Throughout the last several months, DPSS leadership has listened, provided information, and engaged in dialogue with members of the Task Force. During these meetings, we’ve encountered some distrust and assumptions, and we’ve used the opportunities to talk about the great work our DPSS staff does in the community each and every day. We’ve highlighted the high levels of professionalism, education, and diversity within our Division, while also addressing myths and misconceptions. At the same time, it’s been equally important to talk about the failures, criticisms, and complexities of law enforcement. Through listening and participating in these sometimes uncomfortable conversations, we have found that there is a common desire to identify solutions and build a way forward together.
To this end, DPSS will be moving forward to implement a number of the recommendations in the Task Force Report. DPSS is committed to the following action items:
- Providing policy and procedure documents to the U-M Police Department Oversight Committee for their review
- Working with experts to make additional data and statistics about DPSS publicly available (e.g., stop, arrests, and grievances data)
- Partnering with U-M’s Office for Information Technology on improving data categorization, tracking, and reporting through more efficient data collection and tracking systems
- Publishing additional information about DPSS officer selection and training, the structure of DPSS, and the role of its division on the DPSS website, building upon our current transparency efforts.
- Establishing a regular cadence for reviews and updates of the Mutual Aid Agreement that DPSS has with the City of Ann Arbor and other partners.
- Reviewing the results from the 2021 Healthy Minds survey — an annual web-based study that examines mental health, service utilization, and related issues among undergraduate and graduate students — as it relates to policing and public safety.
Some of the additional recommendations in the Report will require further analysis and consideration. This work will continue in the year to come, bolstered by the tremendous work that has already been done by DPSS staff in the community outreach space. As a Division, we will be examining ways to improve data collection, transparency, and communication in our continuous efforts to build trust with our community.