Faculty, staff and students:
Last summer, we created the Task Force on Community-Responsive Public Safety to review KU Public Safety policies and procedures and make recommendations to ensure respectful and transparent public safety services. Specifically, I asked the task force to examine KUPSO practices to make certain that community members are ensured safety and respect – and freedom from bias and racism – in their interactions with police.
Chaired by Distinguished Professor Charles Epp, the task force worked diligently for three months and in November produced its final report and recommendations for my review. Since then, a team of KU leaders have worked to determine how to best incorporate and implement the task force’s recommendations to the benefit of our community.
Today I am writing to voice my support for each of the task force’s recommendations and to let you know that the university will be implementing all of them.
The task force developed 12 specific recommendations in three categories: responses to behavioral health crises; officer conduct issues; and advisory and oversight processes. You can view the university’s response to each recommendation on the task force website.
I want to thank Professor Epp and the task force for developing such thoughtful recommendations and for lending their expertise and passion to this process. Additionally, I want to commend the faculty, staff and students who engaged with the task force via listening sessions and our online comment portal.
Finally, I want to thank KU Public Safety Chief Chris Keary, Vice Provost for Operations Mike Rounds and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham for helping us determine how to best implement the task force recommendations. Looking ahead, we will rely on these leaders and their offices to regularly review our implementation to ensure we continue to address the recommendations in a meaningful way.
As I’ve said since the outset of this process, KU for decades has benefited from having its own on-campus public safety office. As a university, we can be proud that we embraced this opportunity to be part of the national movement related to policing and proactively sought out enhancements to the way we provide public safety service to our campus. I am confident the task force’s recommendations will ensure KU Public Safety continues to be an asset to our community for years to come.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Kansas