Less than a year after it was formed, the Northeastern University Police Department Advisory Board has helped to establish greater transparency and opened up access to policing on campus. And, board members say, they’re just getting started.
In the fall, in close cooperation with the advisory board, the NUPD created a new feedback system to handle complaints, commendations, and requests for information. The system was designed to make the flow of communication more accessible for community members. This month, the department started making publicly available data related to use of force, arrests, and complaints—all as a direct result of collaboration with the advisory board.
The board held several town hall-style meetings through late summer and early fall that were attended by “a couple hundred people across all the sessions,” says Jack McDevitt, chair of the NUPD Advisory Board and director of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern.
“What we heard from people was that they weren’t sure how to get information from the NUPD, and they weren’t sure how to file a complaint or give a commendation,” McDevitt says. “So, we put in place a decentralized system for giving feedback that makes it easier for folks to do so.”
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