MU officials praise MUPD for transparency during reaccreditation

The reaccreditation process requires MUPD to adhere to 373 standards.

University officials offered high praise for the MU Police Department at a public hearing as the department undergoes the reaccreditation process.

MUPD sought public feedback at 2 p.m. Monday in the MU Student Center as part of its voluntary reaccreditation process through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.

At Monday’s public forum, Missouri Students Association President Xavier Billingsley said he thinks MUPD officers do a great job engaging with the student community, citing collaborations with MSA for self-defense classes and visits to Greek chapters to discuss campus issues.

Billingsley also said there is room for improvement, and working for a student population is a learning process that takes a lot of patience.

But overall, he said, MUPD officers do a good job and have students’ best interests in mind. He said the mission of MUPD is to keep students safe.

“I have a lot of confidence in them,” Billingsley said. “I feel safe on this campus.”

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain said he appreciates the professionalism MUPD officers bring every day.

Spain said the department’s openness and transparency speak to the credibility of the campus at large. He said as the father of two daughters who went to MU, he feels confident the campus community is a safe place. He said he now tells current parents of students that MU has a safe community.

Spain also said he appreciates the collaboration MUPD shares with the athletics department and broad campus events to keep campus safe.

“If you look at the data the department provides as part of the national standards, we have a very effective law enforcement agency here on campus,” Spain said. “I’m proud of that.”

Donell Young, senior coordinator for the Office of Student Conduct, said he knows through working closely with MUPD that officers listen to feedback.

He said there is no perfect system out there, but MUPD does a good job working with students.

Young referred to incidents where students have complained to him about racial profiling, which he takes very seriously.

Young said in these cases, he’ll call Chief Jack Watring or Major Doug Schwandt, and they will invite him and the student in question to watch footage of the incident together.

Young said he has observed officers being very patient with students even in high-stress situations.

“For the most part, they do understand our campus environment,” he said. “They understand students make bad decisions but are not bad people for the most part.”

Young also applauded MUPD’s efforts to learn more about sensitive crimes like sexual assault and receive training from the Women’s Center about how to treat survivors in that situation.

MUPD must comply with 373 standards to gain re-accredited status, MUPD Capt. Brian Weimer said in a news release.

The accreditation lasts for three years. MUPD must submit annual reports showing compliance with accreditation standards to retain its status during that time.

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