BREAKING: Tufts to transition to hybrid public safety model

TUPD vehicles are pictured in the lower level of the Dowling Hall garage. Natalie Brownsell / The Tufts Daily

In an email sent to the Tufts community on Tuesday, Executive Vice President of the University and Chair of the Working Group on TUPD Arming Michael Howard announced the release of the working group’s final report. Based on the report, the WGTA released its recommendation to transition to a “hybrid model” of arming in which the Tufts Department of Public Safety employs both armed officers and unarmed security professionals.

“This will enable Public Safety to choose the best option for responding to calls for service given the situation,” Howard wrote in the email. “This approach will result in fewer interactions between community members and armed officers, supporting the psychological and emotional well-being of our community and reducing potential trauma.”

The WGTA was first created as a recommendation by the Working Group on Campus Safety and Policing, one of the workstreams established by the strategic Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution initiative. Since April 2021, the group has met regularly to collect and analyze data on TUPD organization and operations, and was assisted by Margolis Healy and Associates, a national campus safety consultancy. Between April 2021 and February 2022, the WGTA analyzed over 150,000 calls for service and conducted university-wide surveys, forums and focus groups.

Howard expressed his gratitude toward community members for providing their feedback throughout the review process.

“I am proud of the group’s thoughtful and thorough approach to this important work and its commitment to meeting the safety needs of the entire university while also helping Tufts achieve its goal of becoming an anti-racist institution,” Howard wrote.

The email also stated that public safety employees will work alongside Executive Director of Public Safety Yolanda Smith to implement the recommendation in the next two years.


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