The people who work for Saint Louis University’s Department of Public Safety prove over and over again how committed they are to the safety of our campus community.
After President Fred Pestello announced in early 2021 that DPS would move into the Division of Student Development, there was an opportunity to think creatively about what that means for the future of DPS and the way officers and leaders think about engagement. When Dr. Sarah Cunningham, SLU’s vice president for student development, joined the campus shortly after, she called for an external review to help SLU better understand the scope of opportunity for DPS, particularly as it relates to staffing needs, training and policies.
The investment made into the following external review is a sign of the University leadership’s tremendous support of DPS. As you will read, the report calls for many investments. University leadership is eager to work with the campus community — and particularly with our DPS colleagues — on this work.
Key Details from the Recommendations
- Review and update the use-of-force policy to include de-escalation
- Start exploring the adoption of body cameras
- A complete review of the field training officer program
- Hire additional supervisors for patrol operations and additional dispatchers so there are at least two people working in the dispatch office at all times
- Have senior-level discussions about salaries within DPS and how to address increases to improve retention
- Conduct a review of department turnover and hiring practices and develop strategies for recruitment
- Improved marketing and communications around DPS that creates a mutual understanding of what the department does, personifies the officers and supports community engagement
- Consider separating the Clery Act compliance officer and emergency preparedness into two separate positions, and having the Clery Act work happen under the Office of Compliance
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This fall, Saint Louis University Provost Mike Lewis and Vice President Cunningham will name a group of campus stakeholders to serve on a working group to help implement the recommendations that make sense for SLU, thinking creatively and acting collaboratively in the process.
This will be a working group of students, faculty and staff. We will launch this group during the fall so SLU’s next assistant vice president for public safety can be involved in the early stages of the working group. We expect to have this new leader named before Thanksgiving.
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