January 9, 2013
The Honorable Joseph Biden Vice President of the United States The White House-Old Executive Office Building 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear Vice President Biden,
The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) represents college and university campus public safety agencies at 1,200 institutions of higher education, most located in the U.S. We are part of public law enforcement coalitions and coalitions in the higher education community that seek to ensure safe social environments, including campuses. Our recommendation for your Task Force is to acknowledge that it is often school violence that engages public attention, to help in any way to harness this attention, and to urge continued improvement in campus safety.
Like our entire nation, we mourn recent losses in Newtown, Connecticut. We also mourn those lost at Virginia Tech University, Northern Illinois University and the University of Alabama at Huntsville, among other institutions of higher education.
We understand your Task Forces mandate is to address gun violence, mental health issues and the potential impact of changing social norms expressed through violence in movies and video games.
Our views on gun violence have been expressed by The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, of which we are active members.
Within your mandate, we ask that you consider initiatives that focus both on our nations schools and our postsecondary institutions. It is violence on campuses that seems to be the tragic impetus for calls to reform gun policies and to develop early intervention for those who are ultimately responsible for the unthinkable deaths of students that we have seen over the last decade.
We propose that any comprehensive plan include a small program to address campus issues. This program is a National Center for Campus Public Safety. Letter to Vice President Biden, Page 2
A National Center is an initiative that goes back eight years, with a policy and organizational study conducted by the Office of Community Policing (COPS) within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in cooperation with IACLEA and other campus-based public safety professionals. Since 2007, legislation has been introduced in Congress based on the COPS professional and organizational study and has passed the House on three occasions, two by unanimous consent. The Senate Judiciary Committee has also passed the legislation with bipartisan support. We ask that you add the Center as a recommendation in your larger response to major problems you are examining on behalf of the President.
A National Center within DOJ would conduct research on challenges in campus public safety. It would develop and deliver training to those in the field. In much the same way that the National Fire Academy develops best practices for tens of thousands of fire fighters in every state and the FBI offers support for state and local law enforcement, the Center would provide a resource for thousands of campus public safety agencies across the nation, supporting the work of tens of thousands of officers and security personnel. The Center would focus information and training resources to those whose varied and complex responsibilities are critical to maintaining the safety of students, faculty, and staff. The Center would encourage the development and dissemination of best practices for those who protect people, as well as safeguard infrastructure ranging from university hospitals, nuclear reactors, biohazard storage facilities and the integrity of large arenas for sporting events, community concerts, and even Presidential debates. Yet, too, nothing in the establishment of a Center precludes K-12 schools access to the research and training protocols that would be developed.
As original written, the authorization for a National Center was $2.75 million, or less than 16 cents per college student per year. The current version of the legislation is silent on an authorization amount. We anticipate that any funding would come from sources already in existence for community policing through any number of DOJ agencies. Some Congressional appropriators are already looking at areas from which funding may come.
Your task is immense. It is also immediate. The faces of twenty children who lived in Newtown, Connecticut which the nation saw with sorrow just last month is only the latest picture. We add to those faces dozens more killed at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois. In addressing a national problem we urge the Task Force to consider those dozens of faces over the last five years dozens of students who
Letter to Vice President Biden, Page 3
were once learning to sound out words for the first time, and students once getting ready for their medical school admissions tests. Campus safety is for others like them, and ultimately for all of us who will live better lives with their contributions.
Very Truly Yours,
Anne P. Glavin President