Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is wrapping up the first month of his audit of Campus Safety Services — the department’s first external evaluation in more than a decade. He plans to share a draft of the results with Temple University President Jason Wingard in the fall, with the final version coming in either late fall or early winter.
The audit is being conducted to increase Campus Safety Services’ transparency. It was first announced in January as part of a slate of campus safety initiatives intended to address the increase in gun violence near Main Campus.
“[We want] to make sure that the department is doing things that reflect best practices in the industry,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey and his team from 21CP Solutions, a solutions-based public safety organization, are currently analyzing Campus Safety Services’ policies and training practices to inform their future recommendations. Next, he plans to hold focus groups of about 10 people — including students, faculty members, community residents and local businesses — to discuss their perspectives about safety on and near campus.
Ramsey hopes to hold the focus groups with faculty members and residents during the summer, along with independently interviewing members of the Allied Universal security forces who patrol Main Campus.
“We know the department’s perspective of what they’re doing, but that may or may not be shared by everybody,” Ramsey said. “So, we want to hear from students, we want to hear from faculty, we want to hear from other staff that work on campus, we want to hear from community residents around Temple.”
They may wait to hold focus groups with students until the fall because the end of the semester is approaching, said Charles Leone, executive director of Campus Safety Services, at a press briefing on April 14.
Wingard and Ramsey met on April 7 to discuss the audit, Ramsey said. Wingard previously emphasized the importance of using city partnerships to improve campus safety.
“We do need to make sure that we have the right partnerships and the right collaborations with the city of Philadelphia and with the police department of Philadelphia,” Wingard said about collaboration on public safety in a March interview with The Temple News.
Ramsey plans to communicate using social media to reach out to university and community stakeholders about participating in the audit’s focus groups.
Ramsey said Temple has been open with providing his team with any information they need and does not foresee any issues in conducting the audit, even with Campus Safety Services’ leadership changing at the end of the month.
Leone is stepping down from his 40-year career at Temple on April 29, and Deputy Director Denise Wilhelm will serve as interim director after his departure. She’s already met virtually with Ramsey to discuss the audit.
Any future changes in leadership will not impact the continuity of the audit, Ramsey added.
Ramsey formerly served as the co-chair of former President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Task Force on Policing, which Temple used to conduct a self-evaluation on police accountability and ethics in 2020. He was chosen to lead the audit because of his reputation and career in the Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington D.C. police departments.
“I’m a stakeholder in the city, so you want to see everything that goes on in the city whether you’re talking about Temple, Penn, any of the universities here, you want to make sure that there’s a safe environment for students and workers,” Ramsey said.