How can members of the university community trust the Department of Public Safety to keep them safe at Gallaudet when they do not feel secure in their relationship with DPS? This is clearly a challenge for students, faculty, staff, teachers, and alumni with respect to their interactions with the Department of Public Safety.
As Chief Operating Officer, I have listened, and I will continue to listen and work with the community as we seek measurable and impactful changes. We seek changes that foster commitment to each other as individuals, that create a space where one can explore and expand one’s potential, and that allow academic excellence, innovation, and creativity to thrive.
Working with other university leaders, I am taking the time to understand what we actually did do, understand what we said we will do, and finally, understand what we need to address. It is clear to me that there has been ongoing dialogue at various levels and at various times for many years about the relationship DPS has had with the student body, employees, and visitors. It is also clear to me that we have work to do to continue to unpack the power and privilege that comes with a badge and uniform.
With this, we will not tolerate police brutality on our campus or in our community and beyond. We will swiftly investigate and discipline the use of excessive force, abuses of authority, and all other DPS misconduct. Such excessive force by police is particularly reprehensible given its disproportionate impact on the black community and people of color.
We have created a process for individuals to log complaints when they believe that excessive force, abuses of authority, and other DPS misconduct has taken place. This process will allow the Office of the COO, Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Programs to review these complaints and conduct a thorough investigation. Complaints may be sent to DPSFeedback@gallaudet.edu (DPS will not have access to this email address.) Additional information about the process will be posted on our Belonging and Equity website.
I will engage you and the community in these efforts as we ultimately seek to transform our DPS organization. I am looking at, evaluating, and studying actions that have been taken, proposed actions of the past, as well as new recommendations with respect to training, hiring, and the role of DPS. In closing, Gallaudet should be and will be a place where we belong, and where we feel safe at all times.
Dominic N. Lacy
Chief Operating Officer