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In response to the latest COVID-19 surge, spring semester classes will take place remotely through at least January 30, 2022.

A Message from Salem State University Chief of Police Gene Labonte

"I recognize the trauma and pain that these senseless deaths cause the SSU community and our nation."

Dear SSU Community:

Our nation is truly in the midst of an unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused fear, pain, loss of life, uncertainty and financial insecurity for countless citizens. On top of this pain, over the last several weeks we have witnessed tragedy and senseless deaths in Georgia, Kentucky and most recently Minnesota.

As SSU’s Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President of Public Safety and Risk Management as well as the president of the Association of Chiefs of Police of the Massachusetts State Universities (ACOP), I am writing to share the commitment of our University Police Department as well as the below statement that the ACOP released as a group yesterday, which is also linked here.

The death of George Floyd is just the most recent incident in what has emerged as a pattern of needless tragic encounters between police officers and people of color in this country. As a law enforcement executive with over 30 years of policing experience, I can tell you that I am outraged and sickened by what I have seen. I have reviewed the video footage that has been made available as well as the criminal charging document and what I have seen is outrageous and intolerable. 

No human being in a civil society should be treated in the manner that Mr. Floyd was treated and my heart goes out to him, his family, his friends and all people of color who are significantly impacted by this senseless loss of life.

I want you to know that I recognize the trauma and pain that these senseless deaths cause the SSU community and our nation. I assure you that the conduct that I observed by the officers involved in the death of Mr. Floyd is not indicative of the expectations that I have for my police officers. The actions and inaction of those officers are NOT professional policing and is not indicative of what any citizen should expect or accept in a civil society. 

We must not continue to tolerate systemic failures in our policing and criminal justice systems. These failures have gone on too long and as leaders, we must communicate and collaborate to implement necessary changes. We can certainly do our part at the local level, and over the last several years, I have made a commitment to ensuring that all of our officers receive regular training in implicit bias and fair and impartial policing. As important as this training is, it is not enough and we can do more.

I am committed to ensuring that our students, faculty and staff feel safe and secure on campus and our officers share that commitment. I truly hope that we can collaborate to lessen the trauma that our community is experiencing and that we continue to foster a living and learning community of respect, civility and safety for ALL students, faculty and staff.

My colleagues across the Massachusetts State University System share these sentiments. We have jointly released the following statement as a system.

I look forward to working with all of you to better our campus community and to make it an environment that is safe and welcoming to all.

Sincerely,

Gene Labonte

Chief of Police

Assistant Vice President for Public Safety and Risk Management

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE

OF THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE UNIVERSITIES

The death of George Floyd in Minnesota was as senseless as it was tragic. Mr. Floyd’s death is just the most recent incident in what has emerged as a pattern of needless and appalling encounters between police officers and people of color in this country.

The Association of Chiefs of Police of the Massachusetts State Universities (ACOP) condemns all incidences of police brutality. We denounce any failure to carry out our core law enforcement mission, which is to protect life.

The actions and inactions of the police officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death do not represent the expectations that we have established for the police officers under our supervision; and no citizen should expect or tolerate such behaviors on the part of police officers anywhere. We must not continue to tolerate systemic failures in our policing and criminal justice system.

ACOP’s main goal is and always will be to keep students, faculty, and staff safe. State university police departments are committed to acting professionally at all times, while breaking down barriers between our officers and the citizens they serve. We realize that we depend on the support and cooperation of our university communities, and therefore we will continue to work on opening respectful dialogs and building relationships with students and others in order to remain effective and ultimately to increase safety on campus.

In addition to completing state-certified police academy training and ongoing, mandatory in-service training, state university police officers receive regular training in fair and impartial policing and in de-escalation techniques. We will continue to further educate and train our officers so that we can help maintain a safe and inclusive campus environment for people of all backgrounds.

MEMBER AGENCIES:

  • Bridgewater State University Police Department
  • Fitchburg State University Police Department
  • Framingham State University Police Department
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design Police Department
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Police Department
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy Police Department
  • Salem State University Police Department
  • Westfield State University Police Department
  • Worcester State University Police Department??
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