In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Mike O’Meara of the New York Police Association held a press conference and demanded that the public, legislators, and the press start treating the police with some respect. CSUSB Police Chief Nina Jamsen has a different approach to gaining respect and trust from the CSUSB community.
CSUSB, along with the other 22 CSU campus police departments, have publicly denounced police brutality. English major Marlo Brooks, host of Conversations on Race and Policing, says, “We will need more than just a stance on the matter. The future of education should feature more preventative measures to ensure that no future alumnus becomes the next hashtag of unjust killings of innocent lives.”
Chief Jamsen feels that the University Police Department (UPD) and the CSUSB community have enjoyed a trusting and respectful relationship for many years. “We have proactively been to work on implementing President Obama’s 21st century policing guidelines, with community at the center of the operations,” says Chief Jamsen.
Sergeant Devon Harrington, who started his career in law enforcement in 2004 and has since been promoted to Sergeant, reiterated the Chief’s sentiment. “I believe, for the most part, that people know our police department and our commitment to building a relationship with the campus,” says Sergeant Harrington.
The UPD has continued to foster this trust and respect. They are in the process of implementing a Police Advisory Committee which consist of campus stakeholder groups. “The UPD maintains an open dialogue and fosters relationships with our campus partners, such as ASI, Title IX, students affairs, and residential housing,” states Chief Jamsen.
When asked specifically about what the department is doing in the wake of The Black Lives Matter and The Defund Police movements, Chief Jamsen spoke about transparency and accountability. “UPD is and continues to strive to provide quality service to our campus community and subscribes to a community-oriented policing philosophy,” Chief Jamsen stated.
The sentiment was shared by Harrington as he said, “We will continue to treat every member of the campus community with respect and dignity.”
The UPD has also implemented training for all officers that includes crisis intervention, mental health evaluation, anti-bias-based policing, and less lethal tactics. By the end of 2020, the UPD will be completing the process of implementing body-worn camera technology on all officers. Brooks does not believe that body cameras alone will keep the police accountable.
Brooks says, “The nation witnessed the aftermath of the murder of Breonna Taylor, where we see officers not only discussing the shooting with one another, but also contaminating the crime scene, which begs the question (after the unjust decision to not prosecute the officers involved), can 24/7 surveillance on law enforcement help to ease the tensions across the nation?” UPD has updated policing polices which are posted on the UPD’s website.
Although campus is closed, the UPD has stayed committed to the campus. UPD has sponsored many educational classes and the pizza with the cop programs. Brooks believes these programs have a place, but a more stringent transparency clause where the community and police can voice their views would be more beneficial in building strength and trust. Chief Jamsen stated “We will continue prioritizing what we always have: the safety of our community.”
Harrington added, “Campus police officers have dedicated themselves to building positive relationships with the community so, when we are called upon for service, there’s trust already established.”
When you find yourself on campus, you will find that the UPD is proactively patrolling and walking campus. “We are committed to show we are here to protect each individual and our campus as a whole. We consider ourselves a campus partner and enjoy being part of the CSUSB family,” Chief Jamsen said.
The UPD has stayed optimistic during these trying times. The department has stayed focused on campus safety. Chief Jamsen shared, “It is heart breaking to be viewed at times in the same way as some outside agencies, but we remain committed to continuing to differentiate our work at CSUSB and the mission of campus policing.”