Background In September 2007, the Firearms Safety Advisory Committee, chaired by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter French, and composed of university faculty, students and staff members, submitted its final report to President Reinharz, recommending unanimously that:
“An appropriate process be commenced
As soon as possible to arm our
Public Safety Officers.” The Firearms Safety Advisory Committee’s recommendation and report concluded the university’s intensive self study of safety and security systems, procedures and processes.
Earlier that spring, on April 16, on the campus of Virginia Tech, 32 students and faculty had been viciously murdered, 17 more shot and wounded, and 6 more injured while trying to flee. Perhaps the most terrifying of a number of violent events on campuses, Virginia Tech was, sadly, neither the first nor the last. All across the nation, academic communities mourned the loss of human life and vowed to take whatever measures might be available to help ensure the safety of students and campuses.
In late April and May, Brandeis conducted its regular review and update of our Crisis Management Procedures Manual. Over the summer we studied, purchased and installed new outdoor sirens, and developed a robust new Brandeis Emergency Notification System (BENS) to provide information quickly to the community via multiple new modalities including text messaging.
As these tasks were being completed, the university decided to re-examine the question of arming the campus Public Safety Officers. The Firearms Safety Advisory Committee was formed, met several times, studied the issues, met with Waltham police and campus safety officials from other campuses, reported to constituents, and issued a report and recommendation to President Reinharz.
President Reinharz accepted both the report and the recommendation and on September 12 sent an email to the campus community announcing his decision to move forward with arming the campus police, and instructed the EVP/COO to begin the process.
The decision to arm the Brandeis campus police had been made after much thoughtful deliberation with representatives from the faculty, student body and administration. How the results of this decision would be carried out became the focus of a second committee, the Brandeis Firearms Policy Advisory Committee. Once again, under the leadership of EVP/COO Peter French, a group representing the campus community (faculty, students [graduate and undergraduate] and administrators) convened to discuss the guidelines and expectations of the new policy, and address sensitivities and concerns raised by the earlier committee and by the community.
The Firearms Policy Advisory Committee The Firearms Policy Advisory Committee was comprised of students, faculty and staff. The committee met three times to vocalize and discuss campus sensitivities and concerns about how the decision to arm the campus would affect the lives of constituents. The following table shows the membership of the committee, and the constituent group from which each representative spokesperson was drawn.
Agenda Agendas (see page 8) were distributed electronically by Arlene Carey, Chief of Staff to the EVP/COO, in advance of the meetings, and agendas were most often discussed prior to the meetings to ensure that the committee was covering all of the relevant topics.
The Firearms Policy Advisory Committee’s first meeting was held on January 31, 2008 at 1:00 PM in the Trustee Boardroom. Two subsequent meetings took place on March 4, 2008 at 1:00 PM in the Trustee Boardroom and April 1, 2008, also at 1:00 PM in the Trustee Boardroom. Each of the meetings was scheduled for 90 minutes to allow time for discussion. What Was Discussed A. NATURE OF TRAINING The committee meetings provided opportunities to air questions, concerns and viewpoints in a safe, confidential environment. Participants were encouraged to raise all types of questions that reflected not only their own views, but also the ideas of others outside of the committee with whom they discussed these issues and the guidelines that would govern the use of all or any force on the Brandeis campus.
During the meetings, Campus Police Chief Ed Callahan briefed the group on the processes for testing and training officers, and distributed copies of the draft Use of Force Policy used in the training of the Campus Police Officers. Participants learned that all testing and training is performed using the same guidelines local and state police are subject to in their training process.
Physical and psychological testing
The guidelines mandate that all officers undergo a rigorous physical, mental and emotional testing process. Expert testimony was provided by Waltham Police Chief Thomas LaCroix, who affirmed the advice given to the earlier committee, stressing that in the interest of campus and community safety, Brandeis Public Safety Officers be armed.
Waltham firearms instructor Stephen Taranto, JD, also spoke with the committee members and demonstrated dramatically the importance of rapid response in life and death situations. Dr. Martin Jacobs, who administered the psychological profile testing of the Brandeis Public Safety Officers, offered seasoned professional insights into the psychological profile of career officers, and those trained in the use of deadly force. Each of these professionals stressed to the committee that officers’ training was extremely rigorous, and that officers, although trained to make split second decisions, can only use deadly force in the event that all other options had been exhausted. Finally, Officer Taranto and Chief LaCroix indicated that they both were especially impressed with the openness and dedication of the Brandeis Public Safety Officers.
2. Sensitivity training Brandeis engaged an outside consultant to provide cultural and diversity training for Public Safety Officers. The committee met with representatives from E. Wallace Coyle Associates, Wally Coyle and Liliana Mickle, who provided a skills development workshop for Public Safety Officers titled “Managing Cultural Diversity at Brandeis.” The program addressed four issues:
Dealing with different values and communications styles
As a result of the seminar, participants were better able to:
Recognize diversity and its importance in the university community
Understand how to bring individuals together in problem resolution
Work through actual conflict case resolution
Improve listening and speaking skills in helping staff
B. DRAFT USE OF FORCE POLICY A major aspect of the committee members’ work was to make suggestions and share their views after having reviewed the draft Use of Force Policy. The committee suggested that it is important that the Use of Force Policy document become a truly “Brandeis” document, using specific Brandeis reference points, the Brandeis name and seal throughout.
The Use of Force Policy, while confidential, and prepared for the specific use of the Public Safety Officers themselves, was summarized by and for the use of the committee. Committee members felt strongly that it was important for members of the Brandeis community to be aware of the salient aspects of the policy – even though the policy is written for officers and not the general public. Perhaps the most important point for all to understand is that the policy and the training start from the premise that no Public Safety Officer wishes to use force of any kind, and it prescribes a graduated set of responses to situations mandating force. The summary has been reviewed by the committee and the committee wishes to share it with the Brandeis community.
1. The Draft Use of Force Policy at Brandeis – Summary of Key Points A Use of Force Policy sets forth specific requirements for professional law enforcement officers to follow on the Brandeis campus. The policy is a compilation of the best practices governing law enforcement professionals on university campuses and municipalities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in many other states, and has been adapted specifically for use at Brandeis.
The policy is a guide for law enforcement professionals and is part of their professional training. The policy does not require anything of the members of the communities that these professionals protect and serve. The policy is not published for or distributed to the general public.
However, the Firearms Policy Advisory Committee has asked that a number of salient points in the policy be provided to the Brandeis community to address questions that have arisen in the months following the decision to arm the campus police.
The Use of Force Policy sets specific guidelines to provide officers with a concrete basis for making reasonable and prudent decisions in all situations, including those that might require the use of a firearm.
The policy recognizes that circumstances are sudden, dynamic and unpredictable.
The policy instructs officers to use ONLY the force reasonably necessary to effect lawful objectives and bring an incident under control.
Deadly force can be employed ONLY when an officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life.
B. The Use of Force
The officer’s own assessment of a particular situation shall determine where he or she begins on the continuum of force (see number 3 below).
The policy sets forth an ascending order of steps from LEAST severe to the most dramatic measures, and goes on to say that every means of employing the minimum amount of force be exhausted before moving to a more severe application.
The continuum of force
Verbalization – persuasion or commands
Physical strength/hand control, used after refusal to comply with verbal instructions
Chemical substance – Oleoresin Capsicum, or pepper spray, used when lesser measures fail or deemed futile
Impact weapons/defensive force – police baton, used to defend against serious physical injury
Deadly force/firearms – the last option, used after all other reasonable means have been exhausted and only when an officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life..
a. Chief Callahan will continue to work with the community through the Public Safety Committee comprised of students, faculty and staff.
b. Questions and concerns may be brought to Chief Callahan through this body.
C. COMMUNICATIONS Straightforward, consistent and continued communication is essential to the successful implementation of any new policy. The introduction of firearms on the Brandeis campus most assuredly calls for a continuous, open dialogue. The Committee found that graduate students, in particular, expressed the need for improved communications regarding this issue and other campus policies that affect them.
1. Expanded commitment to dialogue with the community Early on, Committee members expressed concern that some in the campus community felt that the university had let them down earlier, when the decision to arm the Campus Safety Officers was made. The opinion expressed by some was that the decision had been made in a vacuum. However, on reflection, it was evident that the university had acted with a sense of urgency on all of the safety and security agenda items at the end of the spring 2007 semester. This pushed the Firearms Safety Advisory Committee meetings into the summer, a time when many members of the community are not on campus. Even though the Firearms Policy Advisory Committee configuration reflected that of the first committee, the timing of the meetings during the academic year allowed for several student forums and more frequent discussion outside of the committee meetings. This helped the process.
Moving forward, the Firearms Policy Advisory Committee plans to hold a number of “coffees” for community members with Chief Callahan and committee representatives to answer questions in a relaxed, stress-free environment. This informal Q&A may become a permanent part of the orientation program for new faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students.
The Public Safety Committee, which includes faculty, students and staff and reviews community issues and concerns, has been deemed to be an appropriate vehicle for dealing with specific questions related to firearms on campus, and the Use of Force Policy.
Students have collected and forwarded to the staff of the Public Safety Committee a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will be answered and available on the Office of Public Safety Web site.
2. Frequently asked questions
Was diversity training done before? Yes. It was conducted by Intercultural Center (ICC) and Student Life staff. It has been expanded to include consultants from E. Wallace Coyle and Associates. See page 4, section 2.
Why now, and what topics did it include? (See above)
How does this specific training relate to firearms? The addition of firearms on campus, the increasing diversity of the community, and the comfort level of the community would indicate this is an appropriate step.
Will diversity training be ongoing? Yes, there will be periodic updates.
What types of guns and safety equipment will the officers be using? The Glock 40 caliber automatic was selected. It is carried by Waltham Police and Bentley College Campus Safety Officers.
What kind of training did officers receive to use firearms?And, will training be ongoing for our officers? Physical, psychological and sensitivity training is provided to officers at appropriate intervals. See above.
How will the community be involved in future decisions about Brandeis firearms policy? Any future decisions would be initiated through the regular Campus Public Safety/Personal Safety meetings.
What is the jurisdiction of Brandeis Public Safety to use firearms? The same as it has always been. (See the synopsis of the Use of Force Policy above.)
What does it cost to arm? Less than $100,000 inclusive of training and equipment.
Does this affect student’s tuition? No
What rights does the community have in regards to interacting with armed officers? The rights and responsibilities of the community remain the same. You may review the synopsis of the Use of Force Policy. The Public Safety/Personal Safety Committee meetings will provide an ongoing dialogue with Public Safety.
Have any of these rights changed? No
What is the procedure if an officer uses a firearm? It is covered in the Use of Force Policy
Is there university oversight? The policy governs police officers in the Commonwealth and has been customized for Brandeis. The Campus Safety/Personal Safety Committee will provide an outlet for raising concerns that may need to be addressed in the future. The EVP/COO can also convene the Crisis Management Team at any time to deal with situations as they might arise.
What is the role of the Waltham police now that Brandeis public safety is armed?
The Waltham Police will still respond to any call for assistance from the Brandeis Public Safety Office. They are here to support and assist whenever necessary.
What do I do if I have a complaint or concern about public safety on campus? Bring it to the attention of Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan or the Public Safety/Personal Safety Committee immediately.
Appendix - Agendas
Firearms Policy Advisory Committee
Tuesday, January 31, 2008 — 1:00 PM — 3:00 PM
Trustees Board Room
Opening remarks – Peter French
Status of testing and training of Officers – Chief Callahan
Distribution and discussion of Draft Fire Arms Policy – Chief Callahan
Review of next meetings – Peter French
Tuesday, March 4 at 1:00 PM
Thursday, April 3 at 1:00 PM
Firearms Policy Advisory Committee
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 — 1:00 PM — 3:00 PM
Trustees Board Room
Opening Remarks – Peter French
Update status of training and testing – Ed Callahan
Comments by Waltham Police Chief Thomas LaCroix
Comments by Stephen Taranto, Jr., JD, Waltham Police firearms instructor conducting training to Brandeis Public Safety Officers
Comments by Dr. Martin Jacobs, administered psychological profile testing of Brandeis Safety Officers