Executive Director of Public Safety Yolanda Smith shared updates on the Department of Public Security’s efforts in support of the University anti-racism initiatives in an email to the Tufts community on Wednesday.
The email states that the changes are the Outcome of the final report of the 2021 Campus Safety and Police Workstreamwhich established the TUPD Armament Working Group, as well as other recommended structural changes and community engagement efforts.
Smith noted in the email that DPS updated its over the summer 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 mission statement includes a direct mention of the department’s anti-racism initiatives and states that DPS will be a “model of progressive excellence in campus security and policing, employing a hybrid model with differentiated response training; Guide employees to act with compassion, professionalism and integrity.”
The email also states that DPS will expand the training process for all TUPD officers to include an emphasis on “implicit bias, harassment discrimination, active viewership and mental health awareness.” Over the summer, officers also received additional training from a non-law enforcement agency on healing and empathy that DPS plans to continue.
The department also announced that two new roles had 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 manager of the campus security officer, who will manage non-emergency situations on campus, such as lockouts and missing items, that do not require uniformed officers. According to the email, the SMFA and Boston Health Sciences campuses already employ CSOs.
Other upcoming changes mentioned in the email include the addition of a comfort dog to help with mental health and non-emergency incidents, a “new and less imposing” cruiser design, uniform patches expressing the “department’s commitment to the community.” , and a poll is planned for next fall to gauge community response to the above changes.
Smith closed the email by reiterating DPS and Tufts’ ongoing commitment to community safety and working at an anti-racist institution.
“While we’ve made progress over the past few months in transforming the Department of Public Safety in support of the university’s anti-racist goals, more lies ahead,” Smith wrote.