Harvard College Police Division Chief Victor A. Clay mentioned present legislation enforcement recruitment and coaching practices are “outdated and ineffective,” calling for police departments to reform throughout a webinar hosted Thursday by the Radcliffe Institute for Superior Research.
Clay’s remarks got here at an occasion known as “Who Is Policing the Police?” that featured a panel of legislation enforcement specialists.
“I don’t perceive why we, as an trade, we haven’t turned a nook and type of moved the needle into the twenty first century,” Clay mentioned on the occasion. “The way in which some cops proper now are being skilled jogs my memory of the best way I used to be being skilled within the ’80s.”
“We have now to begin that change course of, I don’t know why it’s so tough,” he mentioned. “It begins on the high. It begins with me right here at Harvard.”
Clay, who took over as HUPD chief in July, mentioned he helps police reform “100%,” including that modern-day police recruitment supplies ought to give attention to compassion and emotional intelligence, fairly than toughness.
“I additionally suppose earlier than we discuss defunding, reimagining, reallocating funds — all these, what have develop into slogans now, in some circumstances — we have to have a system behind that to assist the police,” he mentioned.
The panelists mentioned non-police public security alternate options, together with packages that concentrate on responding to psychological well being emergencies. The Cambridge Metropolis Council is currently weighing two alternative public safety proposals.
“There must be extra psychological well being professionals on the market on a 24-hour foundation to reply to these calls as nicely. There must be after-school packages and job packages for people which might be on the market which might be struggling,” Clay mentioned. “The programs that have been in place that supported the police not exist.”
Together with Clay, the webinar featured Georgetown Regulation Faculty professor Rosa Brooks ’91, Massachusetts Affiliation of Minority Regulation Enforcement Officers President Jeffrey Lopes, and Middle for Policing Fairness Vice President of Neighborhood Engagement Hilary Rau.
The occasion — a part of the Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery launched by University President Lawrence S. Bacow in November 2019 — was co-sponsored by the Harvard Generational African American College students Affiliation, a student-run group dedicated to fostering inclusion amongst Black college students and elevating consciousness on points arising from the legacy of slavery within the U.S.
“One of many issues that I hear from abolitionists — that I feel that many cops agree with — is that we’re asking cops to do an excessive amount of,” Rau mentioned. “There are methods to additional public security that don’t have anything to do with enforcement. There are types of criminalization that everybody agrees do nothing to maintain folks safer.”
Lopes mentioned neighborhood engagement efforts by legislation enforcement businesses are essential to bettering policing.
“Traditionally, there was structural racism inside policing — none of us can sit right here and say that that doesn’t exist,” Lopes mentioned. “What we’ve got to do is actually begin having these conversations from inside and ensuring that we are able to deal with the structural racism from inside our respective legislation enforcement businesses.”
In an interview following the webinar, Lopes mentioned he hoped scholar attendees would come away believing that empathy-based policing is feasible.
“Policing works when it’s achieved proper, when it has a neighborhood engagement focus,” Lopes mentioned. “When policing is completed with the lens of empathy and inclusion, there’s a lot that we are able to do collectively to make communities extra protected.”