After Incident, Smith Revises Police Procedures

January 31, 2019

Smith College on Wednesday announced that it was revising some procedures for the police force it shares with Mount Holyoke College. In August, the college was roiled after an employee called police on a black graduate student; the employee said the student seemed "out of place." While an investigation found no evidence of bias in the report, many on campus disagreed, and Smith officials agreed that the incident pointed to the frustrations of many black people about having the police called on them when they are doing nothing wrong.

Under policies for the police force (some affirmed and others new):

  • "Dispatchers must gather sufficient information from callers to ensure that police response -- if warranted -- is based on a report of individuals’ behaviors versus appearances."
  • "Ensure that all enforcement actions are based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause, as supported by articulable facts, circumstances and conclusions."
  • "Expand mechanisms for addressing any aspect of an encounter that may suggest the possibility of bias-based profiling."
  • "Require annual training on the prevention of bias-based profiling."

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