University Police Departments Become PR Machines Designed To Spread Their Own Version Of Events

By MassPrivateI

For college age students, the fear of school shootings, sexual assaults, thefts etc., are all major concerns. The University of Utah has taken those fears and found a way to exploit them by creating a university police website dedicated to spreading a climate of fear unlike anything we have seen.

Salt Lake City’s, Fox 13 reports “that in an effort to improve campus safety, the University of Utah (UoU) has created a new website that allows students to stay current on the latest safety news and easily find important resources.”

“It is important for the campus community to have access to safety information and resources that are available through this new website,” said Annalisa Purser, director of administration in the Office of the Chief Safety Officer.

The UoU police PR machine is in full-swing where visitors can stay up to date on the latest news about university safety by visiting the Safety News section of their website. The site is updated regularly with new stories about all aspects of public safety.

Sounds just like a news website doesn’t it?

Former Utah Department of Safety Commissioner Keith Squires who also serves as the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor and is now UoU’s Chief Safety Officer said.

“I have always been passionate about public safety and service and look forward to leading with respect and empathy. After three decades of working in law enforcement, including serving as commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Utah, I know that the future of public safety depends on listening to the community, being open to doing our work differently, and acknowledging our difficult past and holding ourselves accountable to it.”

How will the UoU police do things differently? By creating new public safety websites that look like a Fox News website?

The new safety website highlights include the following:

  • Safety News: The Safety News section is updated regularly with stories about all aspects of University Safety.
  • Safety Tips and FAQs: The Safety Tips and FAQs page provides information about crime prevention, wellness, online safety, emergency preparedness and other resources.
  • Data and Information: This section highlights federal, state and university regulations regarding safety, houses the Annual Security Report and Crime Log, as well as an archive of campus alerts.
  • Safety Committees: Visitors can learn about the newly created Public Safety Advisory Committee, Independent Review Committee, Surveillance System Administrators Committee, and the Racist and Bias Incident Response Team.
  • Feedback form: Individuals may submit compliments, complaints, or other feedback through this form, where they are received by the Office of the Chief Safety Officer for documentation, review and investigation.

A police department dedicated to publishing safety news stories, safety tips, data and information and providing a feedback forum? This will open the proverbial PR floodgates, allowing police departments to spread their own version of events on campuses.

The UoU’s website redesign, titled “SafeU”, is either the best marketing strategy for university police departments or a portent of what is to come.

The UoU police department’s description of their new public safety building is almost too incredible to believe.

“This new space will allow us to better serve the University of Utah community by offering community gathering space, private areas to support victims, workstations for student interns, and state-of-the-art technology to support the future of public safety,” said incoming Interim Chief Safety Officer Keith Squires. 

Turning police departments into community gathering spaces is one of the most ludicrous ideas to come out of the BLM protests. How many students who are demanding an end to police violence and police on campus would feel comfortable using a community room located in a police department?

The UoU’s “Health Security’ tab paints university police officers as benevolent customer service officers.

“U Health Security officers respond to all calls for service that range from customer service calls, alarms, assisting with dignitary visits, lost children and citizens, injuries, traffic control, and exposure to contagious or infectious diseases. U Health Security officers respond to criminal disturbances and crimes and are exposed to potentially dangerous or stressful situations that necessitate the use of both self-control and physical force. Security officers work very closely with University of Utah Police.”

The UoU PR machine is working overtime trying to paint security officers as “customer service” officers, except when faced with potentially dangerous or stressful situations that dictate that they must use “physical force.”

The UoU’s “Safety Committee” section is similarly worded.

“The Chief Safety Officer has created new committees and is revitalizing existing ones. These committees include students, faculty, and staff and ensure broad representation is included in public safety decision-making. The new Public Safety Advisory Committee explores policies, training requirements, and diversity strategies. The Independent Review Committee reviews citizen complaints of abusive language, violations of rights, excessive force, and dereliction of duty brought against public safety personnel. Following internal affairs reviews, this committee will be able to comment on policies and recommend procedural and communication changes.”

Despite the UoU police department’s superfluous words about creating new committees, including allowing students and faculty to be on them, one constant remains. Before the UoU’s “empathetic” Chief Safety Officer will change anything, he has to go through public affairs first; so one has to ask, what has changed?

Beginning in the fall 2021, the UoU police department also created a year-long paid leadership opportunity called the SafeU Student Ambassador Program.

“The inaugural program, beginning in fall 2021, will include a small group of students interested in improving campus safety, gaining leadership experience and interacting with staff and officials at the U. As a SafeU Ambassador, students will have the opportunity to represent student concerns while gaining a unique perspective on public safety in higher education.”

“This new program focuses on partnering with students to improve community engagement and inform the development and evolution of public safety functions at the U,” said U Safety Director of Administration Annalisa Purser. “It is an integral part of the updated mission for University Safety, which focuses on uniting with the campus community to implement safety programs that meet community needs.”

Want to know about the police department’s version of safety news? Ask your SafeU Student Ambassador. Want to know about suspicious people on campus? Ask your SafeU Student Ambassador. Police departments reinventing themselves to look better in the public’s eyes gives new meaning to that old expression “putting lipstick on a pig.”

This concludes our test of America’s regularly scheduled police propaganda machine.

Source: MassPrivateI Blog

Top image credit: University of Utah Communications

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