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The Black Lives Matter movement has ushered in an era of reexamining policies and practices of police departments across America. While the movement primarily examines municipal precincts, Columbia’s Department of Public Safety has also come under scrutiny. From the Alexander McNab incident to the University’s practice of hiring former police officers, members of the Columbia community have been protesting Public Safety’s connection with the New York Police Department. The goal of Spectator’s newest project, DIY Policy, is to attempt to create policy alternatives—supported by argument and evidence.

According to the University, “The Department of Public Safety maintains an excellent relationship with the local police precincts, with which we share crime prevention strategies and local crime information. There is a written memorandum of understanding between the NYPD and the University for the investigation of criminal offenses involving violent felonies and for the investigation of reports of missing students. The police also help to maintain a safer campus by providing extra coverage for special events that attract large crowds. Security patrolling and safety monitoring by local police precincts also extend to University-recognized noncampus student organization locations. The Department of Public Safety also regularly confers with the precincts to control criminal activity around University property. Our Operations Centers monitor local NYPD radios and are in constant communication with local precincts. In addition, our investigators are in daily contact with NYPD detective squads to share investigatory information and conduct real-time crime analysis.”

For reference, please look at Public Safety’s current policies: https://universitypolicies.columbia.edu/content/public-safety-policies

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