Police vehicle at Beaver Stadium

UPPS responds to appalling death of George Floyd

Dear Penn State Community,

 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of George Floyd and all who are struggling with this intolerable event; we share your sadness and outrage. We in the law enforcement profession can and must do everything in our power to do and be better. 

 

Many in our Penn State community have also been impacted by these tragic events, and we are here to support one another in these difficult times.

 

Building trust with the communities that we’ve sworn to protect and serve is challenging in the best of times and made even more difficult by events we see in the news all too frequently. As a profession, we must and can do better. Our daily interactions with the people in the communities we serve must reflect the commitment made in the law enforcement code of ethics, which says in part: 

 

“As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice.”    

 

Within University Police and Public Safety, we hold ourselves accountable to the ideals found in our code of ethics. Our daily interactions with others in the community have meaning. How we treat those around us, how we interact with individuals, how we carry out our duties and responsibilities matter. The following describes just some of what we are doing to continue to build trusting relationships with our communities: 

 

  • Support for community policing activities and programming will continue to be a priority, and will be expanded to incorporate more of our staff into the effort; 
  • We will continue to invest in conflict resolution, de-escalation, and crisis intervention training to reinforce these skills in support of our staff; 
  • Our diversity, equity and inclusion director will work with our police chief on developing specific plans for building trust and legitimacy, one of the six pillars found in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report; and 
  • Last fall, we developed and administered a community survey to invite feedback from students and employees regarding campus climate, safety, University Police and our programs and services. The results of that survey, which will be released soon, will help inform our future community policing strategy and programming. 

 

We are proud of the service University Police and Public Safety provides to our communities, and just as importantly, how we do it, but even we can do better, and we work on this daily. Being in service to others is a noble endeavor. The challenge of changing the culture of policing by placing more emphasis on being guardians, versus warriors, must be a challenge we are willing to embrace within our profession.  

 

Respectfully, 

 

Assistant Vice President Charlie Noffsinger

Police Chief Joseph Milek

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Iris Richardson