The Ferris State University Department of Public Safety is committed to the principle that all people are entitled to unbiased, equitable treatment by police officers. Based upon this commitment, we feel that it is vital to describe our philosophy and standards to clearly establish what the Ferris State, Big Rapids, and Mecosta County community can expect of our police department.
It is important that we define and all understand what this principle means. I will define the concepts of Biased Policing, Individual Demographics, Fair and Impartial Treatment, and Police Services to clearly communicate what the expectations of this department are:
- Biased Policing is defined as any discrimination in the performance of law enforcement duties or delivery of police services, based upon personal prejudices or partiality of officers toward classes of individuals or persons as a result of individual demographics.
- Individual Demographics, for purposes of this commitment, are defined as personal characteristics, to include, but not be limited to race, ethnic background, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, veteran status, cultural group, or political philosophy or status.
- Fair and Impartial Treatment is defined as the belief and commitment to the concept that all persons, irrespective of individual characteristics or affiliations, shall be treated in the same basic manner under the same or similar circumstances. This concept does not mean that all persons in the same or similar circumstances can or must be treated identically. Reasonable concessions and accommodations may and sometimes shall be made, when dealing with persons with physical or mental disabilities, injury, illness, or similar circumstances, or when prior knowledge about the individual necessitates different treatment.
- Police Services are defined as those actions, responses, and activities that may not directly or exclusively include enforcement of the law, but contribute to the overall well-being and feeling of safety and security of the campus community. These services include, but are limited to tasks such as assistance at fire scenes, traffic accidents, medical emergencies, lifesaving efforts, crime prevention, preventative patrol, traffic control, public information, programming and education, and other similar activities.
Based upon these concepts and definitions, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has committed to the following principles:
- Fair and Impartial Treatment: Biased policing is prohibited in both the enforcement of the law and the delivery
of police services. All DPS officers will make every reasonable effort to take equivalent
enforcement actions and provide equal services to all persons in the same and similar
circumstances. DPS officers will never consider individual demographics when performing
law enforcement duties or delivering police services except when such individual characteristics
are part of a specific description of a person or persons. Unless exigent circumstances
exist, DPS officers will not engage in a law enforcement matter that involves a family
member, personal friend, relative, or other person with whom the officer has had a
personal relationship, such that the officer’s objectivity may be, or may appear to
be compromised. In such situations, the officer will summon other police officers
- Compliance: DPS officers who witness or who are aware of instances of biased policing will report
the incident to the appropriate supervisor. When and where appropriate, DPS officers
will intervene at the time that they recognize that biased policing is occurring.
Officers who are discovered to be engaged in biased policing will be investigated,
re-trained, disciplined, or terminated, depending on the severity of the incident.
All complaints against any officer will be investigated and disposition made in accordance
to DPS policy. A Ferris State University Police Oversight Committee Board will convene
to review all complaints made against any DPS police officer.
- Training/Education: The Department of Public Safety will continue to receive training and education to continue to apply this philosophy and to ensure that we are leaders in the law enforcement community to advance the concept of unbiased policing.
This is our solemn promise to the students, faculty, staff, and visitors of Ferris State University.