The University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security has made significant progress on implementing a number of recommendations identified by the University of Michigan Advancing Public Safety Task Force.
Following the publication of the final report on May 6, 2021, President Schlissel and Provost Collins provided a memo on the next steps, which was followed up by a statement of support from the DPSS executive director. Throughout the summer months, DPSS created a workgroup to implement action items related to the task force and published a web page to keep our community informed.
“The work completed by DPSS staff, with the support of our university partners, is a shining example of the dedication and commitment of our staff in listening to our community and expanding upon our continuous efforts to build community engagement, transparency, and trust,” said DPSS Executive Director Eddie L. Washington, Jr.
Some of the highlights of that work include:
A project manager is being hired to ensure appropriate prioritization and forward momentum with this important set of work, now and into the future.
Police Oversight Committee
DPSS leadership worked with the U-M Police Department Oversight Committee, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and others to update the PDOC procedures document:
- The PDOC can now conduct special reviews on a particular topic, system, or question that exceeds the scope of a policy review.
- The PDOC’s authority to engage the public through public reports related to grievances, policy reviews, or special reviews (done in compliance with applicable privacy requirements) was formalized.
DPSS is also collaborating with the chair of the PDOC and the University’s Director of Human Resources to finalize training for PDOC members.
Cooperative Policing Agreement
DPSS and the Ann Arbor Police Department updated the existing Cooperative Policing Agreement, updates include language accounting for harm reduction patrols in off-campus student neighborhoods.
DPSS coordinated with the Washtenaw County Criminal Justice Association (WCCJA) Chair on the county-wide mutual aid agreement and is actively working to update the county-wide template.
In order to increase public understanding about DPSS, the DPSS website was updated and new web pages were added:
- Created a public-facing organizational chart to better understand the structure of DPSS and the role of its divisions.
- Developed a public-facing hiring webpage that serves as a recruitment page and also informs applicants about the hiring process.
- Published a training webpage that contains a summary of training required across DPSS.
DPSS will be looking to conduct a review of our web content along with a community survey in the coming months.
A new data and statistics page was created to improve communication, information-sharing, and transparency. This page will be expanded in the future to include additional statistics, data, and demographics. We are also working with subject-matter experts to better collect, analyze, contextualize, and present data.
As a next step, DPSS has secured a verbal agreement and is working to finalize a formal contract for the services of 21CP Solutions to assist with data transparency, hiring and recruiting, and community engagement. 21CP Solutions is a global consulting firm with origins in President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. They employ a collective of national experts, including scholars, police executives, civil rights attorneys, and others. 21CP Solutions staff provide counsel, assistance, and support to DPSS leadership to ensure the Task Force recommendations are addressed and actions are informed by data-driven research and best practices.
DPSS will develop an updated engagement strategy and expand the DPSS Prevention and Community Engagement outreach initiatives, with a special focus on outreach to targeted groups to improve transparency and building trust and accountability between DPSS and the community we serve.
Healthy Minds Survey
DPSS has connected with the School of Public Health to access the results of the Winter 2021 Healthy Minds Survey. The data has not yet been made publicly available. Once it is available, DPSS will analyze the data for information that may provide insight into additional ways DPSS can support the safety and wellbeing of our students.
“DPSS is a service-oriented organization, dedicated to providing a safe and secure environment for all U-M students, faculty, and staff, with an emphasis on community outreach, prevention, and education,” said Washington. “We value our relationships with the community and take safety-related feedback very seriously.”
DPSS looks forward to continued collaboration and partnership with our students, faculty, and staff, as we work together to ensure the safety of our community.