Executive Director of Public Safety Yolanda Smith shared updates on the Department of Public Safety’s efforts to support the University’s anti-racism initiatives in an email to the Tufts community on Wednesday.
The email stated that the changes are the result of the 2021 Campus Safety and Police Workstream final report, which established the Working Group on TUPD Arming as well as detailed other recommended structural changes and efforts for community engagement.
Smith noted in the email that over the summer that DPS updated its core values and its mission and vision statements, to “clearly reflect our commitment to ensuring the physical, psychological, and emotional safety of all members of the Tufts community.”
The updated vision statement includes direct mention of the department’s anti-racism initiatives, stating that DPS will be a “model of progressive excellence in campus safety and policing by employing a hybrid model with differential response training; mentoring employees to act with compassion, professionalism, and integrity.”
The email also stated that DPS will be expanding the training process for all TUPD officers to include a focus on “implicit bias, harassment discrimination, active bystandership, and mental health awareness.” Over the summer, officers also received additional training from a non-law enforcement agency on healing and empathy, which DPS plans to continue.
The Department also announced that two new roles have been created to “strengthen the department’s relationship with the campus community.” According to the email, a new communications manager at DPS will be responsible for updating the department’s website and social media channels.
The second new position is the campus security officer manager who will manage non-emergency situations on campus, like lockouts and missing items, which do not require uniformed officers. According to the email, the SMFA and Boston Health Sciences campuses already employ CSOs.
Other upcoming changes that the email noted include welcoming a comfort dog to help during mental health and non-emergency incidents, a “new and less imposing” cruiser design, uniform patches that express the department’s “commitment to the community” and a survey, which is planned for next fall, to assess the community’s response to the aforementioned changes.
Smith closed the email by restating DPS and Tufts’ continued commitment to keeping the community safe and working toward an anti-racist institution.
“While we have made progress over the last several months in transforming the Department of Public Safety to support the university’s anti-racist goals, there is more ahead,” Smith wrote.