Community policing approach helps keep campus safe

Harim Ochaeta, The Carroll News

Since it became a full-fledged police department in 2014, the John Carroll University Police Department has promoted a different style of policing called community policing, which goes beyond punitive justice, Chief Brian Hurd told a journalism class at the University recently.

“The JCUPD does not pride itself in making a lot of arrests and citations,” Hurd said, but considers “watching out for the safety and security of campus” to be the priority.

Professor Carrie Buchanan invited Hurd, the head of the John Carroll University Police Department, to speak on the role and mission of the campus police force to her Journalism Bootcamp class on Nov. 4.

Apart from issuing parking tickets and confiscating illegal paraphernalia on campus, JCUPD works with the John Carroll community in various ways, Hurd told the class.

One of those ways involves working with the Office of Residence Life through the Holistic Wellness committee to provide programs for those in the residence halls and the wider student body. In collaboration with Residence Life, they have events focusing on safety awareness and self-defense.

Senior Resident Assistant Jillian Cantlay, chair of the Holistic Wellness committee for Residence Life, spoke about her experiences working with JCUPD and the projects they are currently collaborating on. An “adulting class” is in the works and would teach students basic life skills such as how to change a tire and how to do taxes, she said.

When asked about her experience with the University’s police, Cantlay responded: “For the most part, they are pretty pleasant to work with, and make an effort to get to know [senior resident assistants] and RAs.”

Hurd told the Journalism Bootcamp class he is also working towards creating a Police Advisory Council, comprised of students, faculty and staff, to discuss campus safety.

JCUPD is not alone in emphasizing community policing. There has been a greater emphasis on this type of policing at the national level in recent years as well. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, known as COPS, is a component of the U.S. Department of Justice “responsible for advancing the practice of community policing,” according to COPS’ website.

COPS defines community policing as “a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.”

COPS firmly believes that when “police and communities collaborate, they more effectively address underlying issues, change negative behavioral patterns, and allocate resources. The office has made constant efforts to develop and test innovative policing strategies” along with “providing training and technical assistance” to community members.

Since the inception of COPS, more than $14 billion have been spent to “advance community policing,” according to the website.

Community policing strategies through the U.S. Department of Justice and JCUPD demonstrate that the community must play an active role to ensure a safer tomorrow and, as Hurd puts it, “When you succeed, we all succeed together.”