Outside experts to assess campus safety, police department

The University of Oregon has hired 21CP Solutions, a nationally recognized consultant, to provide an independent, outside review of campus safety and develop recommendations on how to further improve university police policies and practices.

Hiring an outside expert for the review is part of a suite of actions PUO resident Michael Schill announced in response to incidents of police violence against people of color across the country. Other, already completed changes include the creation of nine new unarmed community service officer positions within the UO Police Department to replace seven sworn, armed officer positions.

21CP Solutions is known nationally for its work and expertise in community policing, as well as building trust and strengthening relationships through stakeholder engagement and listening sessions. The company is led by former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who co-chaired President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. It has conducted similar outside reviews at several universities, including Yale, Harvard and Drexel, and worked with cities such as Cleveland and South Bend, Indiana.

The consultant will lead targeted focus groups and student and employee listening sessions at the UO in the coming months to better learn about the community’s views about public safety and experiences that individuals and groups have had with UOPD.

“21CP brings high-level expertise and a national perspective to this important review of our police department and assessment of our campus community’s needs and expectations around campus safety,” Schill said. “I believe that the UO community has been well-served by the UOPD over the last decade, but I also support looking at areas the department can continue to evolve and improve. I’m hopeful that, as a community, we can engage in a constructive, solutions-oriented dialogue.”  

21CP’s work for the UO is to focus on three key areas: reviewing the UOPD’s Complaint Review Committee structure and processes; evaluating options for improved responses to individuals in mental health crises on and near campus; and reviewing the functions of UOPD’s armed police officers.

The organization will make recommendations that aim to further safe, fair, equitable and inclusive public safety on campus.

“An external review is designed to help an organization make future decisions,” said Brenda Bond, a senior adviser at 21CP and professor of public administration at Suffolk University. “To do this, it’s essential that we speak with a diverse array of campus stakeholders. This means meeting with students, faculty and staff at UO to explore the values of the campus community when it comes to public safety and how they can be reflected in the work of the UOPD.”

Campus focus groups and listening sessions are expected to begin in March. Throughout the process, 21CP also will welcome feedback, through a dedicated email address: voicesofuo@21cpsolutions.com. Comments can be submitted anonymously.