When does UMPD respond to events off campus?
UMPD participates with other law enforcement agencies in what are often called mutual aid responses. When an agency requests assistance in situations where additional resources are necessary, every collaborating agency evaluates its ability to provide that aid and makes officers available under the command of the requesting agency. This type of cooperation — a mutual aid response — makes it possible to respond to large-scale emergencies that span multiple jurisdictions, and in communities lacking the necessary resources to respond to a situation. The University community has benefited from this type of cooperation in the past. Examples include when a high-profile visitor or speaker visits the campus and additional resources are needed or, as in 2014 following a Gopher Hockey victory, when we needed help in the Dinkytown area.
What role do we assume when we respond outside of our jurisdiction?
While UMPD officers are assigned to the on-scene commander when they respond to an emergency outside of our campus community, UMPD officers remain under the direct management of a UMPD law enforcement supervisor.
How does this engagement align with our broad commitments to equity and, in particular, with regard to policing?
This question is a foundational part of MSafe and our work with Dr. Cedric Alexander to reimagine the ways that the University and UMPD specifically can establish processes that build trust between UMPD officers and the communities they serve. As Dr. Alexander's report highlights, this requires examining how UMPD presents itself and engages with our community. UMPD is open to hearing and responding to the community's challenges. We are also open to transparency with and for the community around the rationale for when UMPD engages. This transparency is required for trust to grow.
As a small department, serving our community in the midst of a large metropolitan area, UMPD must find ways to benefit from collaborative agencies when additional assistance is needed. Preparedness means being ready for large-scale events and emergencies. That preparedness includes providing space for peaceful protests and preventing those events from unsafely escalating beyond what is lawful. It means being prepared for an active shooter situation and the community lock-down that results. It means being ready for natural disasters or environmental catastrophes. Like other small police departments, UMPD must count on the help of other well-trained officers from other departments around the region. If we expect others to come to our aid when we are in need, we must reciprocate—but we respond primarily in a support role.
Can we rethink how and when we engage in mutual aid with other agencies?
We are willing to rethink how or when UMPD participates in multi-agency work and look forward to working with the M Safe Implementation Team on this question. These changes take consultation and planning, but it is time we are more than willing to invest.