The Policing Action Team is responsible for identifying ways to improve community relations with police officers. Recommendations addressed events held in the Barn and police requests for identification. Many steps have been taken since the Town Hall last March to address these concerns, including unconscious bias training, personnel changes, and changes in Barn management.
Our inaugural Campus Trust Talk took place in the Magnolia Room of Reynolda Hall. This important step in the building of trust between the student community and the police employs a model that incorporates both large and small group discussions and included university student, faculty and staff participants as well as WFU and Winston-Salem police officers.
WFU Police sworn officers, security officers and administrative support staff participated in Cook Ross Unconscious Bias Training workshops. The first session provided a comprehensive overview of the impact of “unconscious bias” on our personal beliefs and professional behavior, with a follow up on Cultural Self-Awareness that focused more specifically on how unconscious bias can affect the culture of policing.
Our police department also participated in Fair and Impartial Policing: A Science-Based Approach (Hosted by Elon University police, in cooperation with WFU police; Patrol Sessions: July 28-30; Supervisor Session: July 31). Fair and Impartial Police Training presents what is known about human biases and provides guidance for promoting fair and impartial policing in the areas of policy, training, supervision/accountability, leadership, recruitment/hiring, outreach to diverse communities, and measurement.
Bias training is now mandatory for all officers and has been an important addition to professional development in University Police. With the exception of newer employees – for example, we had two officers join the department last week – and a few on medical leave, each officer completed a minimum of 20 hours of training related to bias and diversity.
The recruitment and hiring coordination has been reassigned to the Sergeant responsible for Community Policing. The Sergeant currently utilizes search committees staffed by key campus stakeholders and chaired by representatives from Campus life and other campus partners. This diverse composition ensures the candidate pools for all positions are diverse. In addition to our continuing efforts to diversify our recruitment, we have retained Spelman and Johnson Consulting Group to ensure recruitment of a more diverse pool beyond the Major and Captain command position. As of January 2016, two law enforcement officers with extensive experience in community policing at North Carolina universities have joined the Wake Forest University Police Department in senior leadership roles. Derri Gaskins Stormer, formerly with East Carolina University’s police department, comes to Wake Forest as a major. Joe Larkin Dixon joins Wake Forest as a captain after serving in the police department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Fore more information, click here.
The University promoted Corporal James Gravely to Special Events Sergeant to coordinate events and security personnel. He will collaborate regularly with the Dean of Student’s Office of Student Engagement, Event Resource Manager, and student organizations to reduce risk and ensure event safety.
Dr. Angela Mazaris, Director of the LGBTQ Center, is the new chair, reporting directly to the VP for Campus Life. New student representatives have been appointed. The charge, mission statement and meeting structure are being reviewed. The PAB will be host open campus forums to hear campus concerns. Additionally, a newly created a Citizens Police Academy Lunch and Learn Series launched in January 2016 for WFU citizens to learn about the daily functions and responsibilities of the university’s law enforcement personnel and improve police and community interaction. University Police will also continue hosting Trust Talks and Chats with the Chief to improve relationships with students, faculty, and staff as well as to help source community-driven solutions to challenges on campus.
In addition to normal Resource Officer activities with Residence Life staff and Faculty Fellows, officers focused on first year residence halls hosted “Coffee with a Cop” events to establish relationships with first year students. The launch of the Live Safe App has also provided a great foundation for conversation as this a resource now available to students that helps foster a more safe and secure campus community. The monthly “Chat with the Chief” program has grown in size, diversity, and following.
Major Stormer, a recent hire, will be a key leader in enhancing our department’s community engagement initiatives and recruiting efforts. Captain Dixon, also a new addition to the community, will focus on patrol operations, investigations, case management and crime analysis. Both of them have previous experience with and will be involved in the development of Student Patrol Programs, enhancement of Citizens Police Academies, Rape Aggression Defense Classes, Community Engagement and policy and procedure development.
Dr. Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life