Change Starts in Many Ways, but Perhaps the Most Important Is Involvement and Engagement by University Community
By Todd Renwick
Assistant vice president and chief of police
On June 25, I had an opportunity to meet with (from a distance) a group of students, faculty and staff in order to look at reform of the Police Advisory Board. I felt we had a great showing, with nearly 20 attendees, and a positive initial discussion.
The current University Police Advisory Board has been active and functional for almost 20 years at the University of Nevada, Reno. Since the model used is outdated and doesn’t fit the uniqueness of each northern Nevada System of Higher Education institution, the discussion was centered around how best to adapt this group to serve the needs of today.
This board originated on the university campus, but as Police Services’ model changed in the last four years — offering service to all four northern institutions (including UNR, Truckee Meadows Community College, Desert Research Institute and Western Nevada College) — so did the advisory board. It grew to include representatives from each individual campus. In my role as police chief, it has become clear that we need to acknowledge the unique needs of each campus, each deserving independent attention on how we provide police services to them. As a result, I have begun reaching out to each campus to organize conversations and create individual campus advisory boards. The meeting last Thursday was the first step in creating one for the university.
My request of each institution is as follows:
• Student, faculty and staff leaders to guide proposed reform and changes. Please take the lead on this opportunity. This is your advisory board.
• Ask for clarity when things aren’t clear.
• Engage and be involved. We will be open, transparent and are willing to build relationships.
• Come to University Police Services and meet your officers. Do a ride-a-long and learn what your officers do daily. Get to know the officers that are your guardians, colleagues and co-workers.
Many people in our NSHE community have heard me promote our ride-a-long program. It truly is the best way to see what we do, ask questions of the officers and see how they interact and do their jobs. Anyone can request a ride-a-long via the request form available on our website or in our office. The officers, by the way, love it when members of our community come on a ride-a-long. It shows them you are interested in what we do and how we do it. We take pride in our specialized style of policing for our community.
Reform is coming. We know and understand this. We are ready to sit at the table and make change. Help us get there by being involved in this process. People interested in helping are encouraged to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.