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Stanford Plan To Increase Public Safety Includes Hiring Unarmed Officers For Non-Violent Calls

PALO ALTO (KPIX) -- The Stanford Community Board is recommending a multi-point plan to increase safety on campus, both for officers and the students, faculty, staff and public they interact with.

Number one on the list is a proposal to hire more unarmed officers to respond to routine calls.

"Let's say for an example there was a call for a noise complaint. Well you might not necessarily need an armed officer so you might send a non-sworn unarmed officer to respond to that complaint, as opposed to an armed officer," said Vice Provost Patrick Dunkley, who co-chairs the Community Board.

The board has been meeting for the past year to listen to campus concerns and plan for improvements to public safety.

Another recommendation is that mental health crisis calls be responded to by trained mental health professionals except in violent situations when armed police may be needed.

The board is also looking at car stop data to check for potential bias.

"African Americans were stopped at a much higher rate than their citations, so there was a disconnect there," said Dunkley.

The process was started by the university in the wake of the George Floyd killing. Efforts to re-evaluate police performance has gained support by students on campus.

"I think addressing mental issues and things like that would be more beneficial to the community and result in less overreaction overall," said Graduate Student Bryon Spells.

The board is also recommending more anti-bias training for officers, improved communications between police and campus security departments and create better processes for community feedback.

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