Police and community relations subcommittee will serve to analyze campus police behavior

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Jeniffer Torres/The Union

The police and community relations subcommittee will collect data and analyze the El Camino College Police Department’s equity mindedness, as part of President Dena Maloney’s advisory committee on race and equity.

The data collected consists of incident reports of calls for service on campus from students and how ECCPD responded to them.

Michael Trevis, chief of the El Camino College Police Department, said he is gathering data from the past three years for the subcommittee to analyze.

“One of the things we’re looking at is calls for service in the classrooms or on campus here about perhaps disruptive behavior, those kinds of things. And what would the outcome of those things [be]? And who was it? What was the race of that person?” Trevis said.

The subcommittee will examine this data to form recommendations on how situations could have been handled better. They will consider if the police should have been called or if there was another way to handle incidents.

Until the police department goes through the data, they won’t know what kind of adjustments they need to make or whether they would be big or small, Trevis said.

The subcommittee will also be going over policies, procedures and discipline. They will be tracking to see how much of this data went to the office of student conduct and what the outcome of that was in terms of equity.

“The charge of the subcommittee is to provide the president with recommendations, actionable recommendations,” Jeremy Smotherman, research analyst for the institutional research and planning, said.

Smotherman says that they will be reviewing the police department and presenting these recommendations to show what El Camino is “proactively doing to address systemic racism and promote social justice as a whole.”

All police department officers partake in mandatory equity training in various topics such as equity, diversity, and implicit bias, Trevis said.

“We really try to sit down and empathize with a lot of those issues, and so we are still operating somewhat the same way. We always have,” Trevis said. “We have always been respectful and sensitive to the needs [of people], in [particular], when it involves social justice issues. And under my administration, I do believe that we are sensitive and we are concerned about people’s needs.”

Giancarlo Fernandez, co-chair for the Student Equity and Achievement Club (SEAC) and president of the Associated Student Organization (ASO), says he would like the subcommittee to emphasize policies ensuring that officers are equity-minded.

Fernandez said he would also like the police department to create a welcoming space on campus that reassures students they belong and are safe and that the police can be trusted.

“I think that a really good step moving forward was the implementation of the police into the student services division, so they are more in tune with our student’s perspectives through our support programs,” Fernandez said.

Ana Souto, member of the police and community relations/policies subcommittee, and ASO director of equity, diversity and inclusion, declined to comment on this story.

Jamisyn Williams, member of the police and community relations/policies subcommittee, and ASO commissioner of equity, diversity and inclusion also declined to comment.

While some colleges have witnessed protests for abolishing campus police, due to larger national protests centered on the same idea, Trevis says he has not heard of any students from El Camino advocating for abolishing campus police.

He hopes that the students believe ECCPD wants to contribute to their success.

“I think with the current issues going on, particularly the social justice issues, particularly with the George Floyd killing, I think that we are just much, much more attuned and sensitive to those issues,” Trevis said.

ECCPD solicits feedback from students as part of a campus climate survey that is administered every three years. The subcommittee will also be gathering information this semester through a survey the University of Southern California helped create, which focuses on equity.

The police department also has a form for students, employees and others to fill out with their questions.

“Our officers here at El Camino College, we truly care. You know, to be a campus police officer requires a special type of person. It has to be someone that cares, somebody that is empathetic, someone that takes the time to listen,” Trevis said.

Fernandez says that while everybody is doing their best to be equity-minded, he doesn’t think that any department or person can be completely equity-minded yet.

“This is something that you don’t just check the boxes. You don’t just, at a point, reach being an equity-minded person. This is something you keep working on, and it’s something that everyone can improve on,” Fernandez said.

Trevis says he hopes that students and faculty realize their main focus as a police department is to help everyone be successful, keep everyone safe on campus and enable them to achieve their goals and “promote kindness.”

“We really care about all of our students. We want all of our students to be successful. We want all of our students to fulfill their hopes and dreams and we all need to work together. And the police department is a part of that,” Trevis said.