Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association (RIPCA) Twenty for 2020 Pledge
July 30, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
On May 25, 2020, we all watched the video of the killing of George Floyd by members of the Minneapolis Police Department in horror. Since that day, millions of people throughout the world have joined together in solidarity to demand racial justice and equality. These global events, serving as a mandate for critical self-assessments on the part of police departments everywhere, have resulted in the recognition that immediate, meaningful reforms from within Rhode Island’s law enforcement community are imperative.
In response, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association (RIPCA) has established its Twenty for 2020 pledge – a commitment to the citizens of Rhode Island that their collective voices have been heard. This pledge outlines twenty (20) promises and policy statements formulated by forty-eight (48) Rhode Island police chiefs who represent municipal, state, and campus law enforcement agencies across the state. Through this pledge, the Rhode Island policing community emphasizes its commitment to serving all citizens equally and protecting their Constitutional rights regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion (see the Twenty for 2020 pledge here).
Here at the Rhode Island College Campus Police Department (RICCP), the practical application of the tenets of the Twenty for 2020 pledge are already well underway. Upon my appointment as Police Chief in 2019, the RICCP immediately began the process of obtaining Rhode Island State Law Enforcement Accreditation. The accreditation process encompasses a top-to-bottom examination and analysis of an agency and mandates the implementation of locally and nationally recognized best policies and practices in policing. Issues such as the proper handling of interpersonal interactions under a wide variety of circumstances; training officers in de-escalation techniques and the proper uses of force; compelling officers to safely intervene when another officer is about to use or is using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable under the circumstances; recognizing persons with mental health needs and providing access to appropriate services; and recognizing and avoiding attitudes and actions that result in bias-based policing are comprehensively addressed. Achieving Rhode Island State Accreditation will demonstrate to all members of the Rhode Island College Campus community that their campus police officers are truly committed to protecting and serving them.
The RICCP has also sought to strengthen its relationship with the campus community though the implementation of a variety of other initiatives, which include:
- Instituting gender-neutral police ranks and accompanying uniform badges.
- Establishing an Office of Professional Standards, Training, and Accreditation.
- Obtaining Federal grant certification status.
- Initiating community policing activities such as “Chill with a Cop“(during New Anchor Orientations) and “RIC Night Out.”
- Participating in campus wide COVID remote response and planning committees and contributing to the college’s Fall 2020 Operations Plan.
- Coordinating the RI National Guard presence and traffic flow during the COVID-19 mobile testing site activity.
- Working closely with the Community, Equity and Diversity Division and Office of Title IX on matters of policy review and development promoting racial tolerance and inclusion.
- Creating a Compliment/Complaint Procedure, which ensures that an investigation into any reported negative policing interactions is conducted. The procedure and reporting form can be found here.
- Appointing the first Latino RICCP police officer.
- Participating on RIC Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
- Instituting foot patrols to ensure greater visibility.
- Promoting communication and transparency via the release of the RICCP police log to our campus newspaper, The Anchor.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so aptly stated, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Policing is a public service. The primary goal of the RICCP is to ensure a safe and welcoming environment in which all members of the campus community may grow and thrive. The initiatives that have already been implemented at the RICCP, combined with our commitment to the Twenty for 2020 pledge, will serve to further strengthen the spirit of cooperation and collaboration between our campus police officers and the campus community they serve. In furtherance of this endeavor, we encourage your feedback by clicking here as communication is key to our shared success.
James J. Mendonca
Director of Security and Safety | Chief of Campus Police