Email to Barry Meek with Follow Up Items After Meeting Two
Never heard back on this or status update message--some ideas were his
Feb 14, 2018, 2:09 PM
It was good to see you. I believe we had another productive conversation. I appreciate your giving up your lunch hour, though it helps confirm my conclusion that our project has not gotten the attention it deserves yet.
I like you and am fairly certain that you know that what happened to my daughter is entirely wrong and needs to be addressed. I think you are interested in change, have a lot of experience with the police, understand the integrated nature and large number of improvements that need to be made, and possess good organizational knowledge and connections. I do not, however, believe you have the backing you need, or that UVA understands the seriousness of what happened (and huge potential liability), or that it knows the degree to which it is shooting itself in the foot from a variety of perspectives by how its police behave and how its administration and your office treat parents.
I will accept you as the PoC on this for now and refrain from copying others. I greeted President Sullivan in the lobby and resisted my urge to fill her ear out of deference to our meeting. I will expect to see a variety of UVA staff who "own" pieces of this shortly. In the meantime, please understand that I am on a schedule and will continue to build support to address these problems. My hope is that I will be able to lend that support to your efforts. I also hope that the arrival of a new president (along with a new governor and CA) will be helpful, and that you and I will have a body of information and recommendations for him when he gets here. My goal is for UVA to be a leader the way it is in many other areas, including basketball :-)
Please confirm the below and make any changes you think are necessary as I will be making our work public. If you could give me some reasonably hard time frames to accomplish these, I think that is crucial.
1. Hospital changes we agreed to look at:
-Put decals/signs in the windows of the main entrance area indicating the way to the ER. Look at other routes of ingress (pedestrian bridge you mentioned) to hospital/ER and examine clarity and ease of understanding of signage in helping convey people to their destination.
-Examine nighttime ER signage visible from Lee St in front of the main canopy area down the hill toward the PCC to make sure that it does not attract patrons in the wrong direction. The sign in question is the lighted one down by JPA showing a left turn arrow.
Other hospital changes not agreed on that need attention in case you can get to them while the engine is already apart:
- Training of staff when met with people who clearly need help--need to assist them, alert people, make sure they get to aid.
- Medics response speed, dealing with intoxicated persons appropriately, properly securing patients in wheel chair/stretcher, respectful treatment of patients, who has control of an incident when medics and police are both present.
- UVA has made an intense effort to keep the hospital out of this even though it was the cause of the entire incident, up to and including deleting surveillance video on a felony case. This will not be an effective strategy. Someone from the hospital needs to be brought in and get on board.
- Make sure new ER is equipped to deal with impaired persons.
2. Initial actions we agreed on regarding police response and primary goal of making students feel safe calling 911:
- Understand origin and history of police as mandatory first responders to calls for medical help instead of medical resources.
- In a similar vein, understand origin and history of criminal and non-criminal medical assist categories in the crime log and any relation to above.
- By researching previous items, determine whether these are policies, protocols, laws etc. and what authority would be required to change them.
- Understand why dispatch would call police, who she should know would then call rescue, instead of calling rescue directly, and if her action is entirely a result of the prior items.
3. Training opportunities--we discussed a fairly wide range of possibilities here, so you may need to help me focus on what you are committing to/what is doable over what time frame.
We mostly talked about UPD, but a variety of areas really need attention including the hospital, Dean's Office, and administration's dealing with parents.
- Using techniques already learned for dealing with the mentally ill/handicapped on chemically impaired persons as well.
- Practicing de-escalation techniques (could probably take some measure out of the community/relational policing playbook). In-house resources may be useful.
- Activities to build student bridges with UPD in non-confrontational environment (announcing some changes to how UPD handles calls/policy would be a good companion to that or it may be a waste of time).
- Not separating friends and turning people off into the night--take them home.
- Working with Gordie center on both police response and reducing consumption.
- Pulling video on past arrests and using it for both police training and alcohol consumption reduction... a special focus on the danger of shots or other rapid consumption activities.
- Tie into sexual assault training as someone who is impaired may also have other issues that may cause bigger health problems later as well as preventing prosecution if they are not gotten treatment immediately.
4. Look at relief for Jess including wiping the rest of her community service hours, clearing her UVA record, and apologies from the police/UJC. At least the hours piece needs to be decided before spring break when she will complete the sentence.
As I mentioned, there is a large imbalance with difficulty of the job police are asked to perform and their training and compensation. I think fixing this also needs to become a focus so that you have outstanding officers on the job. A bad interaction with a police officer has enormous potential to do all kinds of permanent damage like few other ones can. A good one, can do the opposite for the subject, as well as make police safer. Each and every contact really counts. There are also similarities to sexual assault cases in the fear and power dynamics that make it hard for people to come forward. I think it is incumbent on us to make sure that UVA puts the tremendous resources at its disposal into embracing changes and becoming a model in policing and all areas where it fell down in Jessie's case. The Gordie Center and a Public Safety degree cannot be taken seriously as centers of excellence with a police force, hospital, and administration that reflect the opposite.
I look forward to working with you and making progress in an expeditious manner. I hope to be back through at the end of March, and will definitely be down in late April or early May. In the meantime, perhaps regular email updates would be useful, and we can always talk on Skype/GoToMeeting etc.
PS I meant to give you Chief DiPino's Sarasota PD annual report and strategic plan to copy. Let me know if you want me to drop it by, or perhaps it's on their website.
Also, I would like to get a copy of the letter Senator Deeds sent you and any response the University made. Thanks.