Campus safety departments across the U.S. have shifted some security practices in their departments to increase communication and reduce use of force at their universities.

A report from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) examined how campus police departments have increased accountability and transparency, highlighting the legislative shift on the federal, state and local levels towards de-escalation and communication.

The report examined the top roles performed by campus safety officers, including event management, emergency response, violence prevention and safety education, transportation services, and traffic and parking services. 

In their varied roles, the report suggested strategies for campus security leaders and their departments to liaise with their communities and communicate information about their services. These include:

Make security policies accessible to the campus community: Security communications could take the form of newsletters, announcements via email or the campus safety website, orientations and community dialogue events.

Data collection and assessments: Campus security departments should collect data on campus perceptions of university safety and develop an ongoing review process for department actions. According to the report, 56% of surveyed campus police departments conduct climate surveys of the campus community, while 50% hold town hall events to liaise with students and other stakeholders.

Define values and priorities: Campus safety teams should clearly communicate the values of the department on their website, says the report. For departments making changes to their policies, the goals, timeline and outcome of those changes should be published on their site, according to NASPA.

Advisory boards: Incorporating the perspectives of faculty, staff, students and university leadership in campus safety efforts is a strategy employed by several surveyed departments. The report suggested involving advisory boards in policy decision-making.

For more information, download the report: "Efforts to Increase Transparency and Accountability of Campus Police."