DPS Diversity Awareness Development Initiative

 The Office of Institutional Diversity and the Public Safety Community Relations and Outreach Bureau worked collaboratively to initiate a model of diversity awareness development for the department in 2004. 

The plan reinforces the philosophy that working effectively with communities requires deep and meaningful understanding of the beliefs and value systems held by its members. As communities become more diverse, the range of experiences, histories and cultures and therefore knowing systems represented among its members is greatly increased. This situation poses a challenge for anyone whose work in the community requires that they effectively serve all of its members. These individuals must possess knowledge and understanding of the perspectives, outlooks and experiences of the groups represented. In other words, job success in diverse environments requires multi-cultural competence. The work performed by officers in the Department of Public Safety at Brown University requires this type of skill. 

Acquiring the ability to function fluently in multicultural settings is an ongoing developmental process. The Department of Public Safety has instituted a plan that consists of three types of ongoing activities designed to provide the types of opportunities needed to broaden and expand one's cultural repertoire. These activities include periodic training sessions, ongoing seminars and round tables, and community outreach events. Together the three aspects of the diversity development plan will work to increase the officers' skill and knowledge around diversity related issues and as such move them towards greater multi-cultural competence.

In 2004, the department offered its officers a 16-hour training that served as a foundational base focusing on the phenomena of racial profiling because it provided a unique opening to the multitude of cultural issues inherent to policing in diverse communities. Subsequent training has focused on cross-cultural communication and sensitivity in law enforcement.

The in-service training sessions are mandatory and focus on essential information and skills needed for daily success working in diverse communities. These training sessions are intensive and vary from half-day to full day sessions. Officers receive up to eight hours of diversity in-service training annually.

Facilitators we have utilized have included professional social service and community justice leaders, criminal justice administrators from various institutions, and professional consultants with a specialty in cross-cultural communication and competency. We have also invited Brown administrators and staff that hold a great deal of knowledge and expertise on topics involving race, culture, and ethnicity.

We hope to also enlist the participation of students to assist with the development and facilitation of new, creative training opportunities for officers and students.

The community outreach events provide the officers with opportunities to become more personally acquainted with the diverse array of members in this community. It is well known that breaking barriers across diversity characteristics and greater cross-cultural communication are best achieved through cross-cultural contact. The events will range from social gatherings with various student and cultural groups to opportunities for the officers and these groups to collaborate on different types of community outreach like food drives or parties for children from the surrounding communities.

Officer/Student Dialogue Program

In an effort to enhance community-officer relations on our campus, we are offering a unique opportunity for representatives from student organizations to engage with police, security, and communication officers in dialogue. This is a great , proactive, community-building initiative that we hope students will take advantage of!

In preparation for dialogue, participating students and officers create the dialogue agenda and communication agreements through brief pre-meeting contacts with the program moderator. These small group discussions typically last 2-hours. To ensure comfortability for all participants, we make every effort to keep the ratio of officers to students even.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Brainstorming how to develop and sustain positive officer-student relations on campus/Address concerns or inquiries

Understanding how DPS functions/Understanding campus safety issues/Q&A format

Global or local issues and events that may impact officer-student relations on campus, or in local communities

What are the benefits of students engaging in this program?

-Supports active community building
-Enhances community partnership and communication between your student organization and the Department of Public Safety
-Free food! (DPS provides a nice meal for all participants)

Groups that have sent representatives to participate in this program include:

Samual Nabrit Black Graduate Student Association
Harambee House/Organization of United African People
Undergraduate Council of Students (UCS)
The Brotherhood
Graduate Student Council (UCS)
LGBTQ Resource Center

For more information or to schedule an Officer/Student Dialogue Program for your student organization, please call (401)863-2542.