The University of Colorado Boulder’s Police Department became the first police department in Boulder County to become nationally accredited under a voluntary process that began in 2019.
This accreditation is awarded and managed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and “provides greater accountability and competency in daily operations,” according to its website.
The accreditation process requires adherence to 227 standards, which are overseen by Accreditation Manager Jennifer Barry. Included in these standards are procedures for the use of force, guidelines for interacting with individuals who have mental illness and policies for emergency response.
“It [accreditation] is a testament to our commitment to best practices, both now and in the future,” said Barry.
The accreditation required CUPD to fully rewrite its manuals and find ways to implement policy changes into their current practices. The implementation required transparency and collaboration within the department.
“You have to try to make sure you communicate to everyone and make sure everyone feels that they are included in that conversation,” Barry explained.
Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst came from the accredited Parker Police Department and said she has been envisioning CUPD’s accreditation since her arrival to the department. Buy-in from the organization was a necessity and a challenge, according to Jokerst.
“It took the totality of everybody at this police department to really feel and be passionate about it to adhere to national standards and best practices,” she said.
Discussing the next steps, Jokerst outlined a focus on evidence-based methodology policing practices to mitigate, prevent and disperse crime. She said she wants to continue finding strategic ways to integrate technology to decrease the use of reactive approaches, such as the dispatch of police officers.
To continue contributing to campus safety, Jokerst stated it was important for the CU Boulder community to stay involved and vigilant.
CUPD has utilized community engagement and participation to be able to understand the needs of the CU Boulder community. After the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which incited a wave of national protests, CUPD founded the Community Oversight Review Board as a line of open communication between the department and the Boulder community.
The Community Oversight Review Board meets two times each semester. CU Student Government members sit on this board, and Jokerst said she encourages students and community members to reach out to CUSG elects with concerns or ideas.
“If you see a better way — a different way — that things can be handled here on campus or you just have questions, [you should] reach out,” Jokerst said.
Student feedback has already led to new implementations, such as adding language options to emergency alerts for students, faculty and staff. Additionally, with student recommendations, CUPD created a new student entrance for football games.
“We’re better together than we are apart,” said Jokerst. “If you see something, say something; if you don’t understand something, reach out. I think we will make this a much safer place.”
Contact CU Independent Special Issues Editor Lucy Adlen at email@example.com