Demand for Trauma-Informed Care Training For Campus Public Safety

Demand for Trauma-Informed Care Training For Campus Public Safety

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Tasha Stuart-Shuman started this petition to Pacific University faculty and students

Campus Public Safety, our university police at Pacific University Oregon do mental health "wellness checks" on students that have been reported to have urgent mental health concerns. Most frequently, Campus Public Safety does wellness checks on students that have been reported as having suicidal thoughts and/or intentions, as well as students that have been reported as being a risk to themselves and/or to others. During the school day, the school counseling center mostly handles mental health concerns during the counseling center's walk-in hours, but regardless of whether it is during the school day or during late hours of the night, Campus Public Safety is the one doing the wellness checks. While we acknowledge that Campus Public Safety is an community and university based organization that is not identical to the city police, CPS deals with mostly disciplinary situations on campus in terms of students violating school rules, and keeping people off campus who are threatening to Pacific students.CPS is not a mental health organization, and therefore lacks the intensive trauma-informed care training necessary for officers to interact with students in the middle of a severe mental health crisis.

Campus Public Safety officers should be required to take a mandatory, semester long trauma-informed care class before they are allowed to actively work as officers. Understanding that many students suffer from severe trauma and mental health issues and knowing the proper ways to de-escalate situations while also making students feel safe and supported should be a top priority of Campus Public Safety. Without the proper training, it can be easy to re-trigger students that have had negative interactions with law enforcement, or to re-escalate the crisis situation if officers come across as more authoritarian and disciplinary than wanting to support students and keep them safe. Doing a semester long trauma-informed care course will not only allow Campus Public Safety to handle situations in healthier ways, but it will also help maintain Campus Public Safety's image as a community based organization instead of them being perceived as nearly identical to local law enforcement.
 
 
 

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