CSUN Department of Public Safety and the Residence Halls Association are taking steps to improve the relationship between police officers and students, following complaints of racial profiling made last fall.
The complaints, which initiated an RHA town hall meeting, came from mostly African-American students Which ones? who expressed their concern of being unfairly treated and targeted by CSUN police.? Two complaints filed last semester are currently undergoing investigation.
One effort already performed by police officers was their participation in additional training on racial profiling. The training occured earlier this month, as Chief of Police Anne Glavin stressed they would have in response to the complaints.
The class was a “state mandated curriculum by police officer and training council standards,” Glavin said.
Other efforts being made include a crime prevention packet that will be delivered door-to-door to housing students upon returning to campus residence.
One pamphlet included in the packet titled “The Law and You” is designed to help minority students, with tips on how to respond to police when approached, Glavin said.
The three “Cardinal Rules” for responding to a police officer mentioned in the pamphlet are to “show respect, cooperate, and be honest.”
These rules are important to keep in mind to help make contact with police a pleasant one, said Christina Villalobos, CSUN PD spokesperson.
“Also, although the pamphlet is addressed to minorities, the information inside is applicable to anyone,” she said.
Most students are not aware of the police officers role, Villalobos said, adding that the officer is there to enforce the law and is responsible for responding to all requests for assistance and calls for service.
Officers also provide information to students through presentations such as that of crime prevention, she said.?
Another item included in the packet is a brochure on the programs and services the police department has to offer, along with contact information, Villalobos said.?
“Some students aren’t even aware that there is a police department on campus,” she said.
Villalobos said not only will the packets deal with student-and-police-officer relationships, but also other issues affecting the housing community such as sexual assault and theft.
President of RHA, Jasmine Young said that she is pleased to see CSUN Public Safety begin to make good on their promises.?
“I’ve seen a lot more cops around,” Young said.
In addition to the crime prevention packet, Young said the RHA and Department of Public Safety will host a “Cops n’ Chops,” barbecue later this spring when the weather is warmer.
The barbecue will allow students to socialize with police officers and get to know them better.
Graduate student and current housing resident Alan Beard said he has not had a lot of interaction with police officers. He said the barbeque is a good idea.
“It’s also a chance for free food,” Beard said.
However, Beard also said that he does not see the crime prevention packet making much of a difference.?
“The brochure is basically admitting that racial profiling has occurred without actually coming out and saying so,” he said.
De’Juana Mallory can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.