Distributed December 8, 1992
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

The Risen Committee

Gregorian Releases Full Text of Campus Safety Report

In a statement issued Dec. 6, Brown President Vartan Gregorian announced that he concurred with The Risen Committee report on campus safety, which recommended that the University not arm its police officers at this time. The full text of that report follows here.

PROVIDENCE — Brown University President Vartan Gregorian today released the full text of a report on campus safety which was presented to him on Sunday, Dec. 6, 1992. Gregorian had commissioned the report from a special Campus Ad Hoc Committee on Safety, which he created on Nov. 3. The committee was chaired by Professor William Risen.

In a statement issued Dec. 6, Gregorian announced that he concurred with the committee’s recommendation that the University is not ready to arm its police officers at this time. He also announced that he would publish the full text of the committee’s report in the George Street Journal, the University’s weekly newspaper, and would send copies to parents of Brown students. Gregorian will also inform the Advisory and Executive Committee of the Brown Corporation of his concurrence.

Editors: The full text of the report follows; a summary appears at the end. For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Brown News Bureau.

Report of the Campus Ad Hoc Committee on Safety

Presented to President Vartan Gregorian, December 6, 1992

Committee Members

Kevin Andrews, campus police officer; Peter Andrews, security officer; Zachary Fox, security officer; Walter Holmes, vice president for administration; Khary Lazarre-White Organization of United African Peoples; Margaret Mutter, library; Amanda Philipson, Undergraduate Council of Students; William M. Risen, Jr., professor of chemistry (chair); Terrence Taylor, coordinating counselor


The Campus Ad Hoc Committee on Safety was charged by President Gregorian with hearing the concerns that Campus Police Officers and Security Officers have for their safety and for the safety of the campus. It met with officers and other members of the community in order to analyze the problems and to propose solutions to them.

The committee began with the knowledge that recent events had heightened the officers’ concerns about the risks they encounter in the course of doing police and security work. It sought to understand these risks more fully by learning about the experiences of Brown Security Officers and Campus Police Officers. It also sought the views of a number of students who are concerned about police and security activities as they affect student life and the safety of student-run services. Finally, the committee was informed by the views of the Providence Police Department and, of course, the University administrators who are responsible for student life, legal affairs, University relations, and police and security.

Since the immediate concerns arose from the risks associated with providing police and security services under the policies established by the University, the central questions became whether the appropriate services are being provided and whether the policies are appropriate. Two facets of this general issue were explored. One involves whether the officers are asked to assume too much risk and whether there are acceptable ways to reduce the risk while providing for the safety of the community. The other has to do with whether all people in the community are served appropriately, or whether there are ways to enhance their safety, trust and confidence.

The committee has sought to bring its observations and thoughts about these issues together in a set of policy options and recommendations.

Safety of Police and Security Officers

Brown’s Police and Security service consists operationally of Security Officers, who patrol sections of the campus on foot, Building Guards, who secure specific buildings, Communications Officers, who provide radio communication services, and Campus Police Officers, who usually patrol in vehicles. On a typical shift, three Security Officers and two or three Campus Police Officers are on patrol duty.

Since they patrol, Brown Security Officers (SOs) and Campus Police Officers (CPOs) face the most risks. These risks arise in part from activities on the campus and the immediately adjacent streets. When these activities involve members of the Brown community and their guests, they typically can be handled by persuasion. However, when they involve intruders bent on robbery, rape, drug sales or harassment, the problem must be assumed to be the same as it is when these activities are carried out elsewhere in society. In Providence this has come to mean that the perpetrators should be assumed to be armed. When they come on campus, they are confronted by either SOs or CPOs.

Brown CPOs bear additional risk, however, because they operate under a de facto University policy that takes them off campus and out of their legal jurisdiction as Campus Police Officers. They respond to the needs of the student-run shuttle and escort services, which operate both on and off campus. Last year these services provided about 127,000 rides to students, faculty and staff members. The CPOs also respond to incidents caused by Brown students in the general University area. They patrol a region which is defined generally by the immediate campus environs in order to enhance the safety of the University itself. They provide protection and assistance for other emergency vehicles and services, as required. And, when the Providence Police cannot respond effectively to distress calls from Brown students living off campus, CPOs often respond, sometimes at the suggestion of the Providence Police.

In all of these circumstances, the CPOs face the same risks as municipal police officers. However, despite the fact that they are trained fully as municipal police officers, they go into these circumstances without the full range of police equipment, specifically firearms. In some cases this keeps them from being able to protect and defend either victims or themselves. In some cases it prevents them from taking any action at all.

In recognition of this situation and of the level of professionalism achieved by 1987, former Chief of Police and Security John Kuprevich recommended that CPOs be issued sidearms as standard equipment. No final decision was reached before he left Brown and his successor, Chief Dennis Boucher, was appointed and reorganized the Department. Following this reorganization, including personnel changes, Chief Boucher made a recommendation to arm the CPOs under certain conditions and to redefine their effective jurisdiction and duties to reflect the way they have been operating. The recent events have served to make the CPOs anxious to have a decision from the University on this issue. The CPOs who have participated in discussions with this committee have favored the issuance of sidearms in accordance with standard municipal police practice.

The committee also was very interested in the views of the SOs. Since they are the primary campus presence at night and at social events, their safety is very much at risk. While the recommendations of the SOs who joined the committee’s discussions varied, they reflected the importance they attach to the safety services they provide for the University community. There is agreement among those who spoke with us that additional provisions for the safety of SOs, particularly in terms of protective equipment, distinctive appearance, and effective police back up, is necessary. There were various opinions about who can and should provide this armed police backup when required, and whether arming only CPOs is sufficient. Overall, however, it is clear to the committee that the Security Officers provide essential services which are very well regarded on campus.

Risks to Campus Safety

After hearing the concerns raised by the Department of Police and Security and its officers, the committee has determined that simply continuing current police and security procedures would impose an unacceptable risk to SOs and CPOs. Without effective back-up, SOs face serious risk in the course of their patrol responsibilities. Similarly, CPOs are at great risk doing police work without full police authority, especially when responding off of University property. Responding to crimes in progress or engaging in proactive crime prevention methods, including motor vehicle and suspicious persons stops, cannot be done prudently under current conditions.

The committee also feels that significant risks and safety concerns exist for other members of the University community. Despite a certain level of expectation regarding police response, students, staff, faculty, and student escort, shuttle, and safewalk personnel may not be rescued from attacks in a timely or sensitive manner. And because proactive crime prevention methods cannot be practiced prudently under current conditions, the lack of such activities increases the risk of crime occurring on campus.

A very important safety concern is presented both by Police and Security Officers themselves and by students who spoke with the committee. Because of a lack of trust and an historic conflict between Police and Security Officers and students of color—particularly African-American students—these students are not only left unprotected from certain crimes on campus but also from harassment and abuse by some Police and Security Officers.

Solutions Considered

Since it is not appropriate simply to continue the current policies and procedures, the committee has considered several approaches to improving campus safety. One is to improve it to the extent possible without issuing firearms. The other is to achieve the improvements that are possible when the CPOs are armed.

Certain actions are common to these two approaches and should be taken regardless of the way the arming issue is decided. Therefore, the committee recommends the following:

1. Establish review and audit procedures with increased community input. In order to involve the University community more fully in campus safety and to increase the accountability of the Police and Security Department to the University community, a committee representative of the University community should be established to handle the hiring of CPOs and SOs. This committee also should be charged with receiving complaints regarding officer conduct, especially pertaining to the use of force.

In operation, the committee will make recommendations to the Chief of Police and Security. Actions will be taken by the Chief of Police and Security. The committee also can make recommendations to the President of the University.

The make-up of the committee should at least include representatives from the Brown University Security Patrol Persons’ Association, the management of the Department of Police and Security, the students, the staff/administration, and the faculty. Representation from the Department of Police and Security may not represent a majority on the committee. This committee recommends the following composition but recognizes that some changes might improve its ability to function well:

The committee will be called the Campus Community-Police and Security Committee and will have nine members as follows:

  • 3 undergraduate students (1 from UCS, 1 from OUAP and 1 other)

  • 1 graduate student (designated by the Graduate Council)

  • 3 Police and Security Personnel (Chief, Union President, and one CPO)

  • 1 Faculty member (Appointed by FEC or elected by the Faculty)

  • 1 Senior Administrator (named by the President).

The committee will have full access to information, subject to applicable laws, and will be indemnified as University Officers. The chair will be selected by the members.

In addition to establishing the hiring and review committee, an Annual Independent Audit of the Police and Security force should be conducted. The auditing team, possibly composed of Police Chiefs from other colleges and universities or the R.I. State Police, would evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of Police and Security operations and personnel.

2. Increase education and publicity to the community. The following measures must be undertaken to improve communication with the University community.

  • Monthly or semi-monthly forums should be organized with total University involvement to discuss campus safety and concerns. This should include a clarification of security services as well as limitations and information on methods of safeguarding oneself and one’s belongings.

  • Meetings/mixers with the Third World community should be held to ensure

  • familiarization between Police and Security and the Third World community

  • understanding of the codes and regulations of the University and

  • implementation of meetings with incoming Third World students.

  • During the Third World Transition Program there will be appropriate time set aside for at least one meeting between incoming freshmen of color and all available SOs and CPOs.

  • Police and Security policy and periodic police briefing should be disseminated to the University community.

  • In addition during freshman orientation there will be an orientation session by Police and Security for incoming students.

3. Issue protective vests to all CPOs and SOs.

4. Improve physical security of campus. Lighting surveys should be conducted every semester and lighting should be increased accordingly.

5. Staffing levels of both CPOs and SOs should be increased.

6. Retain the position of Manager of Special Services.

Additional Measures

The above actions, though necessary, are not enough to adequately address the safety concerns of officers or other members of the community. The question remains: will safety be more greatly enhanced by eliminating high-risk activities and allowing CPOs to patrol without firearms, or will safety be enhanced more greatly under a policy in which CPOs on patrol carry sidearms?

Under the first option, the safety of both CPOs and SOs would be increased by reducing the likelihood of encountering life-threatening situations. Both CPOs and SOs would patrol and respond to incidents on campus property only. In addition, they would not be allowed to engage in high-risk activities of investigating possible criminal activity, responding to crimes-in-progress, making motor vehicle stops, and, in some cases, making suspicious person stops. Instead, Providence Police would be responsible for all such activities.

The most significant risk involved in such a plan is that an unarmed officer could have his/her life taken. It is possible that a homicide could be permitted due to non-intervention during an attack. There would also be a risk that the character of Brown would be altered as a result of the need to better monitor and control access to University buildings, areas, and social events. Additional costs involved with this option are the loss of University control over how incidents are handled should Providence Police need to respond to the campus area. Importantly, the shuttle, escort and safewalk services as they currently exist would be lost. Their replacements, operating under the normal protection of the Providence Police when operating off of campus, probably would have to provide less service. Finally, the budgetary expenses of electronic monitoring and access control devices would contribute to the cost which this option presents.

Under the second option, CPOs on patrol would carry sidearms and engage in preventive police activities with a broadened jurisdiction to include the campus area not owned by Brown. Significant jurisdictional, liability and interforce issues would need to be arranged. The SOs, as in the above options, would patrol and respond to incidents on campus property and avoid high-risk activities.

The most significant risk involved in this plan would be an accidental or unwarranted homicide by an officer. There also would be a risk that the character of Brown would be altered as a result of the armed presence of campus police. The presence could be threatening and the response would be unpredictable. There is a possibility that the presence of firearms would escalate the violence in the campus area even though there is the possibility that it would deter crime in the campus area. This option would exacerbate the safety concerns which students of color have. As with the first option, budgetary expenses for uniforms and equipment would represent a cost to the University.

Committee Conclusions

The risks and benefits of the two general approaches to the arming question are difficult to weigh in the balance because they require an ability to assign probabilities to possible future events. If we knew how to evaluate the probability of an incidental homicide by an armed CPO and the probabilities of homicides, rapes, or other crimes that could have been prevented by the presence or response of armed CPOs, we could do the main step in a moral calculus that would lead us to a decision. We cannot evaluate those probabilities with any exactness, but we can suggest how to weight them in favor of the safest possible results.

In the previous sections of this report, we have recommended that some actions be taken regardless of whether the CPOs are armed.

Thus we recommend the establishment of a Campus Community-Police and Security Committee, and initiation of broad education and community-relations efforts. These are essential to enhancing campus safety.

On balance the committee believes that a simple continuation of the current policy over the long term, is untenable even if these actions are taken. The risks to CPOs, SOs and Shuttle and Escort drivers on duty and to the students, employees and faculty members who otherwise would use these services are too great.

The committee recognizes that these risks and the increasing problems in society may have reached the point at which arming Brown CPOs is necessary. The University is not ready to take that step now. However, it is prudent to prepare for that eventuality, should it be necessary.

Therefore, the committee recommends that two additional sets of actions be taken immediately, as follows:

1. Policy changes be implemented to make the officers and community safer without a change in the arming policy.

  • take these steps to reduce the risks to SOs and CPOs

  • Eliminate the policy of response to high risk situations.

  • Adhere to designated areas of jurisdiction. CPOs and SOs will patrol and respond to incidents on only University property and immediately adjacent streets.

  • Enhance arrangements with Providence Police. Communications between the Providence Police Department and Brown University would be necessary to assist in response to areas outside Brown Police and Security’s jurisdiction.

  • Increase staff. Increase the number of both CPOs and SOs to allow officers to patrol in pairs. If more officers are seen on campus, this may deter suspicious persons from unlawful actions and more officers will be available to provide back-up in dangerous situations.

  • Improve physical security measures and reduce access to campus buildings and areas to University community and accompanied guests. Install additional electronic monitoring devices and card-access systems in all University buildings and areas, particularly in campus properties which are remote from the main campus area.

  • Provide for shuttle, escort, safewalk services.

  • carefully modify the escort service to operate only within the more restricted area in which it can function safety.

  • enforce current University policy on guests at social events.

2. Direct the appropriate administrative officers of the University to work out in detail the rationale for arming Brown CPOs and provide the legal and organizational basis so that Brown will be prepared to do so if prudent safety policy warrants armed police presence separate from that available from the Providence Police Department. It is expected that this will be done soon, and that a decision will be reached by March 30, 1994.

Summary    [Return to Top]

The Campus Ad Hoc Committee on Safety was established on November 3, 1992 and charged by President Gregorian with hearing “the concerns of campus police officers and security officers from their safety and the safety of the campus.” The committee was asked to report by December 6, 1992.

The committee met with concerned officers, students, and administrators and a Providence Police Representative. It considered at the level possible all of the issues it could identify within this brief period.

Its main conclusions are:

  • The risk to officers under current policies is unacceptably high;

  • The University should set up a Campus Community-Police and Security Committee to involve the community in handling personnel and incident matters, and it should establish an Annual Independent Audit of the department;

  • There must be increased campus-wide education on matters of safety and the role of Police and Security;

  • The staffing levels of Campus Police Officers and Security Officers should be increased to those required for safe patrolling;

  • Policy changes should be implemented to make the officers and community safer without a change in the arming policy; specifically:

  • Eliminate the policy of response to high risk situations;

  • Adhere to designated area of jurisdiction, which is the University and its immediately adjacent streets;

  • Arrange improved communication to assist the response of Providence Police outside of the Brown Police and Security jurisdiction;

  • Increase the staff to allow officers to patrol in pairs;

  • Improve physical security measures.

  • The services provided outside of the jurisdiction of Police and Security, especially the Escort Service, should be modified to operate only within the more restricted areas in which they can function safely;

  • The current University policies on guests at social events must be enforced;

  • The appropriate administrative officers of the University should work out in detail the rationale for arming Brown Campus Police Officers and provide the legal and organizational basis for doing that so that Brown will be prepared to do so if prudent safety policy warrants armed police presence separate from that available from the Providence Police Department.