Through an equitable and inclusive model of service and outreach, the Smith College Campus Safety Department helps ensure that every member of the Smith community can safely learn, live and work on campus in an environment of mutual respect and support. The Campus Safety Department commits to ongoing training and education on a range of topics, such as deescalation, antiracism and community engagement, that are central to building trust and partnership with students, faculty and staff across campus.
Our philosophy is that we strive to make every interaction a positive one.
— Mission Statement of the Campus Safety Department
Campus Safety Department Officially Launched
Smith College embarked on a yearlong, community-focused process to re-envision the leadership and structure of campus safety. As a result, the college has launched a new model for campus safety, beginning on July 1, 2020.
Just as hospitals, colleges and other organizations have accreditation programs, police accreditation assures our communities of our operational readiness based on the highest standards of the field. Accreditation:
- assures that the department’s policies and procedures and rules and regulations are in line with modern professional standards.
- promotes a strong emphasis on officer safety, training and professional hiring and promotional procedures that assure professional and top-caliber service to our communities.
- provides an ongoing, independent evaluation of the department.
- improves the quality of individuals who apply for employment with our agency.
- provides each member of the department with a sense of pride, knowing that their agency has met the highest professional standards.
Our safety department has already begun diligently working toward meeting the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission standards, with many policies already in place that meet or exceed the standards set forth by the commission.
Community Based, Community Focused
The mission of the department is strongly informed by the voices of the Smith community. Over the course of the spring 2019 semester, a Campus Safety Advisory Group (CSAG) met with more than 425 students, staff and faculty in 14 listening sessions, three open forums and a community playback meeting, which resulted in a set of recommendations. Smith’s independent campus safety department and dispatch is located on West Street, which aligns with feedback that dispatch should be located at Smith and operated by staff deeply familiar with the campus and community.
A community focus will be manifest through such practices as additional biking and walking shifts to reduce the presence of police cruisers; programing to build community engagement; and the creation of a community advisory committee with seats for students to work with the department.
Our mission includes the following recommendations:
- Continue to be unarmed.
- Continue to be sworn officers, which requires a high standard of ongoing training in areas including deescalation, crisis intervention and mental health response, and reduces the need for local and state law enforcement presence on campus.
- Reduce vehicle patrols on campus in favor of bicycles and walking.
- Continue to refuse any voluntary requests to release any information regarding the citizenship or immigration status of any student, staff or faculty member unless legally compelled to do so. Should the college be subpoenaed for such information, Smith will seek legal counsel before taking any steps to comply.