DPS conflict resolution process still not resolved

After more than a year-long effort to solidify the Department of Public Safety’s conflict resolution process, no verdict has been reached as to what the new process will be or when it will be implemented.

Brian Smith, University assistant vice president for administration and complaint resolution working-group chair,@@[email protected]@ believes that a resolution will be reached before the end of the academic year, as the working group is in the final stages of reviewing the policy.

“We’ve had the chance to review the policy and really sit down to go through it to make comments and revisions,” Smith said.

Review of the policy was brought about because of State of Oregon Senate Bill 405, which stated that any university that establishes a police department and commissions one or more employees must create a process that will allow the university to respond to complaints involving policies and conduct associated with the police department.

The policy, which has been worked on since Feb. 1, 2011, has taken just more than 14 months because of former University President Richard Lariviere’s suggestion to revise the policy that the working group first presented to him on Aug. 18, 2011, according to Smith. On Aug. 29, 2011, Lariviere suggested that the group implemented a committee process in the conflict resolution policy.

Sam Chapman@@[email protected]@, University senior and student member of the working group, feels the group has been put on hold but the policy is still moving forward.

“The committee has been put on hold for such a long time, as a student I feel like I’ve been put in the dark on it,” Chapman said. “Of course, there is a lot going on with the new president and the ASUO elections, but without Katie Taylor and I@@[email protected]@, I don’t think that the students would have their voices heard.”

The working group’s main purpose is to review possible models for the complaint policy and report the advantages and disadvantages of the policy to the University’s Executive Leadership Team@@[email protected]@, according to the University police department complaint resolution working group webpage. It is also written that the models will be checked to ensure that they are, “… culturally aligned to the campus community, equitable, transparent, understandable, accessible, representative of the campus population, and timely.”

The group has not been particularly timely, but Smith says the wait is necessary.

“We’ve got a draft laid out now,” Smith said. “Now we just want to bring it back to the work group and go through it again.”

Until the new system is put into place, the current system will continue to be used. Complaints, expressed verbally or in writing, are sent through the chain of command and sent to the proper part of DPS, said DPS spokesperson Kelly McIver.@@[email protected]@

The new policy also has to go through a legal review and mock scenarios before it can be sent to the University president again one last time, then be brought back to the working group for final approval.

“We just really want to make sure that the process will work as it is intended,” Smith said.

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Branden Andersen

Branden Andersen