Updated on 4/19 at 3:41 p.m.
More than a year after its announcement, Temple University has released an audit of Campus Safety Services’ operations and procedures, emphasizing that campus safety and safety in neighborhoods surrounding Temple are interconnected. The audit was conducted by former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who partnered with 21CP Solutions, an organization that advises law enforcement agencies.
The 131-page report, which comes just one day after The Temple News’ Editorial Board called on the university to release it, summarizes four major areas of recommendations, which include 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.
Among the recommendations 21CP advises Campus Safety to address immediately are the establishment of a “Temple-Community Safety Partnership Zone” and a Response Resource Task Force which includes university representatives, the Philadelphia Police Department, the city’s District Attorney’s office and other state and federal law enforcement agencies.
The audit recommends that the task force considers new programs that would cultivate TUPD officers through the university, by offering tuition forgiveness for students who sign up for the department and do so for an identified period of time. It also recommends engaging the Pennsylvania State Police to provide supplemental patrol services in communities adjacent to Temple.
The report also suggests several organizational management changes, which include better cohesion within TUPD and maintaining a separate Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police. It also recommends that Temple and TUPD should explore the department being physically located in one location.
21CP also recommended that TUPD and the university review current resources for survivors to ensure that they are trauma-informed and that TUPD should receive training on new department operations for investigating incidents of sexual assault and harassment.
In terms of mental health, the university should explore alternative or co-responders for mental or behavioral health incidents, according to the report.
In a press conference announcing the audit results, Vice President of Public Safety Jennifer Griffin said that after her evaluation of the 68 recommendations, she has formulated a strategic plan with five pillars: personnel, training and professional development, equipment and technology, strategy and collaboration and communication.
“We’re going to leverage all our partnerships and phenomenal public safety employees, as well as those at the University and beyond to successfully carry out this mission,” Griffin said.
Griffin has also identified nine recommendations that the university has already begun or is in the process of beginning.
Click here to read an overview of the results and check back on this page as The Temple News shares highlights from the report throughout the day.
The evaluation, conducted by Ramsey and 21CP Solutions, his public safety organization, was Campus Safety’s first external audit in more than a decade and was aimed at increasing transparency in the department.
Ramsey planned to evaluate Campus Safety’s operations, including student and community engagement, and identify areas for improvement. He also aimed to analyze the department’s training practices and held focus groups with students, faculty and community members to discuss safety issues on and near campus.
The team also hoped to independently interview Allied University security officers that patrol Main Campus.
The audit was announced on Jan. 27, 2022, following the fatal shooting near campus of a Temple student in November 2021. In April 2022, Ramsey hoped to have a draft to show former President Jason Wingard during the Fall 2022 semester and a final version in late fall or early winter.
The results come as Temple has grappled with increasing safety concerns around campus, including the death of Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald on Feb. 18, marking the first death of an on-duty officer in the history of the Temple University Police Department.
In the aftermath of this issue and other ongoing campus safety concerns, 75 percent percent of students identified safety as the biggest issue at Temple, according to a March 2023 poll from The Temple News.
In the report, 21CP noted how they’ve been impressed with Vice President of Public Safety Jennifer Griffin’s ability to identify areas where TUPD and Campus Safety can improve.
From Jan. 1 to Feb. 18, 129 people were shot, 14 of those fatally, within a quarter-mile of Temple’s Main Campus, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
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