Temple begins to implement audit recommendations

The university received dozens of safety recommendations from a year-long audit.

The audit listed five pillars that could be implement to improve safety communication and community engagement | EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

On April 19, more than a year after its announcement, Temple released a 131-page audit of Temple University’s campus safety efforts, conducted by former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and his organization, 21CP Solutions.

The group, which specializes in advising law enforcement, made 68 recommendations and summarized four major areas, including guidance on crime and physical safety, support for and organization of Temple University Police Department, TUPD engagement with other entities and TUPD’s critical interactions.

“It is a long report, and it contains 68 recommendations,” Ramsey said, at a press conference announcing the results. “Do not believe that that means that we found deficiencies in Temple University in all these areas. There are some areas that need improvement, and they can strengthen some things. There are some areas in which they’ve already begun work, and they’ve already made significant progress.”

Ramsey said all of the recommendations were laid out with both short and long term timelines. He also emphasized that some things look easily fixable on the surface but may take more time, so Temple should not be held to the suggestions strictly.

In response to the audit, Jennifer Griffin, vice president for public safety, has created a strategic plan that includes five pillars: personnel, training and professional development, equipment and technology, strategy and collaboration and communication. Nine of the 68 recommendations have already been addressed by Temple, Griffin said.

Here are some notable recommendations from 21CP Solutions.

Guidance on crime and physical safety

The audit’s major recommendations include working with community and city stakeholders to establish a Temple-Community Safety Partnership Zone, a collaborative effort that seeks to engage with the community surrounding Temple through deterrence oriented, problem-solving approaches.

The partnership’s goal would be to address the root causes of crime, violence and quality of life from a problem-solving perspective and build upon recommendations from the Violence Reduction Task Force Report, which was released in November 2022.

The audit recommends a Response Resource Task Force which would include the city’s District Attorney’s office and local and state law enforcement agencies. The task force would address short-term staffing needs at Temple and in the surrounding community.

Other suggestions include regular evaluations of the FLIGHT shuttle system, the creation of an annual camera audit plan and an assessment of building security and access protocols. 21CP Solutions also recommended that the university evaluates the best ways of providing off-campus housing information.

Additionally, the audit recommends that TUPD and Temple should review sexual assault services available to victims and the development of a policy that addresses response and investigation of sexual assaults. 

Support and organization of TUPD

The audit also suggested organizational management changes that would ensure better cohesion within TUPD, like maintaining a separate role for vice president of public safety and chief of police. The group also recommended housing TUPD in one physical location, as opposed to the current four separate locations.

TUPD should also consider a concrete recruitment plan for TUPD and other security personnel, and should establish immediate hiring incentives for qualified officers from other law enforcement agencies which would result in shorter training periods, according to the audit.

Public Safety is currently working on new hiring and retention bonuses to attract officers and now receives citywide supplemental patrols from Philadelphia Police Department, Griffin said.

TUPD Engagement 

The third area of the audit covered engagement with outside entities like Allied Security Services, neighboring police departments and other community partnerships.

Griffin said that the establishment of the Safety Partnership Zone will be one of the first efforts that the university will undertake, and that they have already begun to increase community engagement. 

TUPD will work during the summer to increase community engagement including Twists, Treats & Talks, a campus police mingle, and other events throughout the summer with students who stay on or near campus.

Critical Interactions

The audit extensively covered critical interactions between TUPD and community members, including use of force policies, fair and impartial policing and mental health response to individuals experiencing mental health crises.

Recommendations included alternative responses to mental or behavioral health challenges, and data that analyzes the prevalence of calls related to these issues.

Ramsey and his team also recommended co-responders for mental health incidents, as well as a review of current resources for survivors and new training for incidents of sexual assault and harrassment.

University leaders also announced that a public health approach could help address gun violence and build partnerships in the North Philadelphia community, including joining forces with leaders at Temple University Hospital.

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