UTPD chief discusses student, police relations at SG meeting

Paul Cobler

As the University’s “Be Safe” safety campaign continues through the fall semester, UTPD chief David Carter spoke Tuesday at Student Government’s general assembly meeting about the need for students and police to work together.

Carter highlighted a number of concerns for the department during his speech, including student and UTPD relations, and the various challenges the department faces policing what Carter called the “not-so-small city” of UT.

“The tragic murder last spring clearly brought a lot of these issues to light,” Carter said of the April murder of freshman Haruka Weiser on campus. “We have to work together. We have to work and have students understand that their safety is in as much of their hands as ours.”

Carter focused much of his speech on the need for UTPD to have a strong relationship with the student body, citing recent national incidents that he said may have damaged students’ trust in the department.

“Our vision is not to be the safest place in the world,” Carter said. “Our vision is to be trusted and respected. If we are trusted and respected by all students, then that means we’re keeping you safe.”

SG Chief of Staff Isaiah Carter, who primarily sponsors SG initiatives on student safety, said having an open line of communication with the UTPD is paramount to keeping student relations with the department strong.

“I think it’s important because I heavily believe in this idea of community policing, where officers build relationships with their constituents and the people they’re serving,” Carter said. “So I think it’s an amazing thing, and I think students are going to gain a lot from it. We now have a perspective of the chief, and he has a perspective of the students.”

Carter pointed to the department’s motto throughout the speech when talking about the need for a strong relationship.

“Every interaction between a police officer and a citizen not only shapes that citizen, but can shape and develop that police officer in the future,” Carter said. “We have our vision, mission and values, but we also have that motto, ‘Protecting those who will change the world,’ and that’s you.”

After the speech, the assembly continued the meeting’s theme of safety and passed A.R. 9, a resolution supporting the implementation of campus-wide “Stop the Bleed” kits and training programs for students.

The bill asks the University to place the kits, for use in the event of a situation of uncontrolled blood loss due to a wound, throughout campus next to Automatic Electronic Defibrillator locations in University buildings.

“I think it’s a tremendous benefit,” SG President Kevin Helgren said. “I’m a huge believer in the idea behind and the spirit of bystander intervention. I think it would be awesome for a student nearby to take a proactive role in your safety by aiding you until a more formal role of help can be made available.”