Community deserves voice in police evaluation

The Editorial Board calls on Campus Safety Services to actively seek out input from community residents on its self-evaluation of its policies and practices.

Temple University announced in September it would be conducting a review of its police force’s policies and procedures against the standards outlined in former President Barack Obama’s 21st Century Task Force on Policing final report, The Temple News reported.

For three months, members of Campus Safety Services’ leadership have been meeting weekly to compare their policies against the report and determine which of the report’s recommendations the university can implement, The Temple News reported. Temple has already committed to buying 110 body cameras to be worn by its officers.

The Editorial Board commends Campus Safety Services for looking inward at its operations and policies amid the nationwide push toward police reform amid the Black Lives Matter movement. 

However, we are concerned a self-evaluation of practices is not sufficient toward assuring the Temple and North Central community that Campus Safety Service’s policies are equitable and community-oriented.

Temple’s self-evaluation does not currently include input from local residents, The Temple News reported

We believe not incorporating community input on Temple’s evaluation of its policing practices is a grave oversight. Temple’s armed police patrols the surrounding community. Therefore, the people they are patrolling should have a voice in how they think the department can best serve their needs.

The Editorial Board calls on Temple to solicit input from the community on its evaluation of Campus Safety Services in the following ways: first, by holding socially-distanced and virtually-accessible town halls with community residents; second, by meeting with local activists who represent the community’s concerns; and finally, by ensuring that the final report on the evaluation is made accessible to the general public.

Throughout this process, the Editorial Board encourages the university to regularly update the Temple community on the status of the evaluation.

Additionally, once the evaluation’s final report has been completed, the Editorial Board urges Campus Safety Services to further include community voices when developing and implementing changes in Temple Police’s future policing practices.

Throughout this evaluation process, Temple should focus on listening to the concerns and needs of the community rather than proceeding without their input. If Temple Police is truly supposed to be a community-oriented police department, then let the community have a voice.

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