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Do NOT Defund/Dismantle Yale Police Department
Given the recent tragedies and pain in our country caused by police violence, it is understandable to argue to defund and dismantle police departments nationwide. But, when arguing to take away the power and resources of the Yale Police Department (YPD), or any college police department, it places the students and the community at risk.
Yale University is a renowned institution known for its prestigious academics. In addition to providing a second home to its diverse student body, the university holds a responsibility of safety and protection to any visitors on campus. Yale regularly holds large international conferences, summer programs for high school students, and is a daily destination for tourists and prospective students. When anyone steps on campus--regardless of race--they deserve to feel protected and not have to worry about public safety. Parents deserve a peace of mind knowing that their children are safe, and students deserve to spend their time working and making memories instead of worrying for their lives.
Unfortunately, there have been incidents over the past few years regarding discrimination and unfair treatment to the Black community. Of course, we would not encourage the continuation of YPD if that meant that particular students and community members were at a greater threat with its existence. Furthermore, we would not endorse the funding for YPD if it did not directly benefit the campus. According to the 2018 YPD Annual Security Report, the top crimes reported and dealt with by the YPD were burglary, rape, fondling, and stalking--all especially prominent crimes on college campuses, New Haven and beyond. While Yale Security is able to patrol campus, monitor blue phones, and provide rides to students, it is ultimately the YPD that handles more serious matters that college students unfortunately face (YPD officers also receive specialized training for the possibility of mass shootings on campus).
Logistically, YPD is a necessity: right now, there are not enough officers from the New Haven Police Department (NHPD) to oversee New Haven as well as Yale’s campus. According to the current YPD Assistant Chief Anthony Campbell in an interview with Yale Daily News, there are “not enough officers in New Haven to deal with the calls in the city.” The addition of thousands of calls and responsibilities would not be realistic. The NHPD officers do not have the training nor experience necessary to monitor and serve a college campus. If they oversee Yale, then it may result in more harm than good.
The responsibilities of current campus security measures and YPD do not overlap enough to dismantle and defund YPD. Furthermore, it is not feasible for the current NHPD to also oversee Yale--there is a lack of resources and special training needed to serve college students. We need a safe campus, and need to work with the current department to make steps towards justice. We will remember and learn from past incidents to ensure Yale is a home for all.