SCOPE AND PURPOSE
Revised July 2020
The purpose of the Police Oversight Committee is to provide vision, guidance and oversight to The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) as it serves the university community. Through its members, the committee will facilitate communication and develop a mutual understanding of roles and expectations between the community and UTPD. This collaborative partnership will serve the university community by providing thoughtful insight into the security needs of our diverse campus community and by monitoring UTPD activities to ensure it respects the dignity of each member of the community in a manner that upholds the core values of the university.
The Police Oversight Committee is advisory to the president. It serves as the principal institutional channel of communication between members of the university community and UTPD. The focus of the committee’s work varies from year to year as different issues arise, but the consistent task is to ensure that the policies, practices, and operations of the UTPD effectively promote the security of the university community while fully respecting each member of our diverse community.
The committee reviews issues and concerns which it identifies, or which are referred to it from the university community. Any member of the university community, acting personally or officially, may submit a matter for the committee’s consideration; the committee is not intended to be a substitute for the established means for handling formal grievances or complaints. When appropriate, the committee is expected to refer concerns to the proper channels for formal consideration and action. The receptivity and effectiveness of those channels is within the committee’s purview.
For the 2020-21 academic year, the committee shall:
- Receive quarterly briefs by the chief of police regarding UTPD hiring and training policies and practices, including policies governing the use of force, and general data and information about complaints filed against UTPD employees.
- Receive quarterly briefs by the chief of police regarding complaints made by members of the UT community against UT police officers and subsequent investigations.
- Receive quarterly briefs by the chief of police on all use of force incidents involving UTPD officers.
- Review a summary of police citations issued and criminal cases referred to the district or county attorney.
- Serve as a sounding board for the chief of police on various issues or concerns involving the department and the UT community.
- Provide input on UTPD programs and initiatives to enhance campus security.
- Advise the president and UTPD on the most effective strategies for communication and engagement that promotes a strong relationship between UTPD and the UT community.
- Advise UTPD on the most effective strategies for implementing researched-based implicit bias and de-escalation training in policing.
- Prepare brief reports to the president including an annual report, which is to include a summary of the matters on which the committee focused, conclusions reached, and recommendations for consideration by the president. The report may include matters that are recommended to be continued for consideration by the committee appointed for the following academic year.
As matters warrant, at the request of the chair, the committee may meet with the president.
The committee, through its chair, may communicate with the leadership of the UTPD and may respond as appropriate to any member of the UT community who submits a concern to the committee.
Members of the committee are appointed by and report to the president. Membership on the committee shall be representative of the university community, and shall consist of:
- Three general faculty members who serve on the committee chosen by the president to serve three-year staggered terms. Each spring, the Faculty Council shall submit at least two nominations for each vacant seat for the president’s consideration.
Beginning in the 2020-21 academic year, the president shall select a faculty member on the committee to serve as chair and a faculty member to serve as vice chair. The term for a chair is one year, and begins on the first day of the academic year and ends on the last day of that academic year. At the end of academic year, the vice chair will assume the chair for the subsequent academic year, and the president will select a faculty member to serve as vice chair who will serve for the next academic year. If a vacancy occurs on the committee during the academic year, the president may appoint another faculty member to complete the term of the vacated seat.
In consultation with the Faculty Council chair, the president may appoint additional faculty members to serve on the committee to serve a one-year term.
- Three students who serve on the committee chosen by the president each to serve a one-year term. Each spring, the incoming Student Government president and the dean of students shall each submit at least three nominations from which the president will appoint three students to serve on the committee. If a vacancy occurs on the committee during the academic year, the president may appoint another student to complete the term of the vacated seat.
In consultation with the Student Government president, the president may appoint additional students to serve on the committee to serve a one-year term based on recommendation of the dean of students and the vice president for diversity and community engagement.
- Three staff representatives who serve on the committee chosen by the president to serve three-year staggered terms. Each spring, the Staff Council shall submit at least two nominations for each vacant seat for the president’s consideration. If a vacancy occurs on the committee during the academic year, the president may appoint another staff member to complete the term of the vacated seat.
In consultation with the Staff Council chair, the president may appoint additional staff members to serve on the committee to serve a one-year term.
The term of each appointment begins on the first day of the academic year for which an appointment is made and continues until a successor for that seat is appointed.
The committee will include ex officio members appointed by the president to serve at his or her discretion and for an indeterminate term. Ex officio members shall include the chief of police, senior vice president and CFO (or a designee), vice president for diversity and community engagement (or a designee), dean of students (or a designee), vice president for legal affairs (or a designee) and the chief communications officer (or a designee). The president may appoint others to serve on the committee as ex officio members. Ex officio members may participate in discussions of the committee but shall not vote on matters before the committee.
While issues involving UTPD vary from year to year, the university community is best served when the committee engages with UTPD to provide thoughtful insight into the community it serves. To do so, the committee is expected to meet at least quarterly during the academic year, and more frequently as circumstances warrant, as determined by the chair. The committee may host an open public forum each academic year to receive concerns or to provide information to the university community. At the request of the chair, the committee may meet with the president annually.
The president’s office shall provide administrative support to the committee.