Boise State University will enter into the fifth and final year of the contract with the Boise Police Department (BPD) that integrates police presence with university operations.
The decision came after President Marlene Tromp appointed a committee to re-evaluate the university’s options for campus policing and security. The committee was made up of students, faculty and staff, and they recommended that Boise State continue its final year of the contract with the BPD.
According to an emailed Boise State press release from the Office of Communications and Marketing, “The committee’s recommendations were delivered in a memo to Boise State’s President Dr. Marlene Tromp. This decision is one that we did not take lightly, understanding the concerns of the student activists with whom we spoke and talking through our own concerns and thoughts about the current contract with Boise Police.”
The committee brought up potential issues that could arise without the contract, and the importance of a working relationship with BPD to ensure public safety on campus.
“The group emphasized that the contract gives Boise State a voice in how policing is done on campus,” the Office of Communications and Marketing wrote.
Tana Monroe, director for security, police and event operations at Boise State, understands the committee’s concerns about campus safety without a police contract with the university.
“The committee cited potential issues that could arise without the contract, particularly relating to the support services Boise Police provide to Boise State staff who respond to student mental health and safety needs,” Monroe wrote in an email. “Additionally, the agreement ensures the university complies with federal laws, including the Clery Act and Title IX, by responding to calls, conducting investigations, collecting information, and gathering and reporting annual crime statistics.”
The committee requested to be involved with how policing is done on campus. They asked the city to continue to review law enforcement use of force policies and training requirements, additional implicit bias training, town halls and listening sessions for members of the community.
Associated Students of Boise State University President Angel Cantu was on the committee that was asked to re-evaluate the contract with BPD.
“When our initial committee was first created, we were tasked with evaluating our relationship with BPD in order to address the dissatisfaction members of our community had with their officers,” Cantu wrote in an email. “We first considered replacing their services with another law enforcement agency or private security firm.”
Cantu explained how reaching out to other agencies and finalizing a contract with them would take roughly six months to put out a bid and finalize a contract. According to Cantu, this would leave campus vulnerable for those six months.
“We realized that we rely on BPD, not only to provide security for campus, but they also staff our university call center, as well as keep records that keep us in compliance with the Clery Act,” Cantu wrote. “Both of these are vital services for the operation of the university and filling these positions with new staff would take around three months.”
The call center is responsible for responding to calls on campus 24/7, the emergency blue light stations, dispatch campus security and building maintenance teams.
Whitney Craythorn, a senior multidisciplinary studies major, sees the relationship between BPD and Boise State as effective and necessary.
“I think these particular agencies have almost fine-tuned their interactions with campus populations to be extremely effective,” Craython said. “I think we lose that in the process of looking for a new resource if that’s the case.”
Craythorn also understands how a different entity might better serve the Boise State community.
“I think Boise State may want to transition to something that can be more inclusive of students,” Craythorn said. “That would be my best guess as to why they would want to call it off with BPD.”
Entering the final year of the current contract will give Boise State the opportunity to hire a new agency. However, the committee and the university may choose to extend their contract with BPD if they wish.