September 20, 2013
To Members of the University Community,
With the semester underway, I want to update you on the University’s ongoing efforts regarding campus safety and emergency preparedness. Our foremost priority is the safety and security of each and every member of our community.
In April, a report of an individual with a gun in the Chafee Social Science Center launched the University’s Emergency Alert System. While the police investigation concluded this incident was never a threat to public safety, there was significant value in testing the University’s emergency preparedness, response, and communications. A review and report of recommendations was issued to enhance the readiness and response of the institution.
Download report: http://web.uri.edu/alert/files/Chafee-Incident-Report-4.29.13.pdf.
Ongoing efforts include:
* Enhancements to the University’s Emergency Alert System and encouraging participation at all four URI campuses – system upgrades were performed over the summer; additional enhancements are in progress.
* Upgrades to Blue Light Emergency Phones – upgrades were performed over the summer; additional upgrades are in progress.
* Education and Training for students, faculty and staff - numerous departments have requested and received training; training videos will be posted online; and requests for training will be fulfilled.
Additionally, you will receive information next week regarding a system-wide test of the URI Emergency Alert System. Please look for this email next week.
Finally, a major recommendation of the review supported arming URI police officers so that they can respond in a timely manner to any emergency and ensure the safety and protection of the community and themselves. Please note that this recommendation only affects campus police officers who are Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy graduates and are authorized to enforce state statutes as well as University rules and regulations.
In May, a campus forum on arming URI police was held to listen to all voices on the issue. Our goal was to have a comprehensive understanding of the issue and its implications. During the same month, the Rhode Island Board of Education voted to allow each institution of higher education to decide whether to arm its police department.
To continue these efforts to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the issues related to arming URI police officers, I hope you will participate in one of the public forums to become informed about this issue. These public sessions are designed to foster an inclusive, campus-wide discussion. I also urge you to review the reports and studies that have been produced over the past several years related to campus safety. These are available on our website.
Additionally, members of the campus community are able to submit comments, concerns or questions regarding the issue of arming campus police on this web page.
Public Information Sessions
Brown University’s Experience with Arming Campus Police
September 25 at 3-4 PM, Memorial Union Ballroom
* Russell Carey, Vice President for Planning and Policy, Brown University
* Mark Porter, Chief, Brown Police
Public Forums: Arming URI Police
Sponsored by the Offices of the President, Provost, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and the Student Senate
* October 7, Memorial Union Ballroom, 3-4 PM
* October 28, Memorial Union Ballroom, 3-4 PM
* October 30, Feinstein Providence Campus, Auditorium 5-6 PM
* Stephen Baker, director of Public Safety, URI
* Leo Carroll, professor and chair, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
* Vincent Vespia, chief of police, South Kingstown Police Department
* Mary Jo Gonzales, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and dean of Students
* URI Student representative
* John H. McCray Jr., Vice Provost, Urban Programs (At Providence Forum)
The University will continue to assess, review, educate, and train in order to maintain a robust emergency response system. As recent tragic events have brought to light, it is critical that we all become engaged and aware of emergency preparedness procedures. It bears repeating that the safety and security of our community is our highest priority.
David M. Dooley, Ph.D.