Community message following Minnesota verdict

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the loved ones of George Floyd as they have endured the unthinkable. 

This tragic and unnecessary death must become a seminal event for law enforcement in the United States. The profession should take notice and reaffirm its commitment to change by:  

  • Instilling the principles of procedural justice in our core training. 
  • Hiring officers who exemplify values of integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence, and community in their everyday work. 
  • Developing more effective processes to remove officers demonstrating disciplinary problems from our ranks. 
  • Hiring officers who want to serve as protectors of all community members and work alongside community members to solve problems together. 
  • Requiring all officers to be dedicated to the preservation of life for all and intervene when another officer is using excessive force.  

UPPS also reaffirms its commitment to the principles of procedural justice, by insisting that all our officers: 

  • Demonstrate fairness in our processes. 
  • Create opportunities for everyone’s voice to be heard. 
  • Embrace transparency in what we do, and how we do it. 
  • Insist on impartiality in decision making. 

Words alone are not sufficient. We must reaffirm our commitment to building trust and legitimacy through our actions, particularly with members of the Black and African American community. UPPS will: 

  • Continue to engage our communities and remain invested and supportive of our community policing efforts and initiatives, including by serving on the Penn State Task Force on Policing and Communities of Color and supporting the task force’s pending recommendations.  
  • Continue to implement actions and programming that will help UPPS become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization in part by modifying our recruitment efforts and hiring qualifications to broaden our applicant pool.  
  • Continue to serve on the Penn State Restorative Practices Task Group with faculty and staff members to help guide the University’s efforts and commitment to restorative practices. 
  • Continue our commitment to transparency and accountability by working with Penn State leaders to establish a broadly focused University Police and Public Safety Advisory Group. This advisory group will provide valuable input and feedback to UPPS.  

Preservation of life is the most sacred responsibility a law enforcement officer holds. The loss of George Floyd was preventable, and we know that his death has caused community members to question whether police officers are truly their protectors. There is much work to be done in building trust and legitimacy with all in our community.  

If you want to share your thoughts, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or Iris Richardson, our director of diversity, equity and inclusion, at [email protected]. You can report hate crimes, or ethnic intimidation, by calling 911 or anonymously using our online form. You can also report a bias incident that occurred at Penn State by using the University’s online form. As always, Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to students and the Employee Assistance Program is available to Penn State employees.  

Charlie Noffsinger, associate vice president for University Police and Public Safety