March 9, 2016
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The Weekly Snapshot
Your source for the latest tips, information, and current campus safety resources from the NCCPS.
Download the Blueprint (PDF).
New Blueprint for Sexual Assault Response Developed for Texas Universities
 
The University of Texas (UT) System has  announced the release of 
The Blueprint for Campus Police: Responding to Sexual Assault
 (PDF), "a science-based, victim-centered blueprint for law enforcement to respond to sexual assault cases at all 14 University of Texas institutions." The  Blueprint   is the result of a unique collaboration between the UT System Police, who are responsible for 14 academic and health institutions with more than 330,000 students, faculty, and staff, and UT at Austin researchers. UT System Police Director Michael Heidingsfield advised the Blueprint " has the potential to be a national model for not only university law enforcement agencies but law enforcement in general."
 
The  Blueprint is divided into five units: 1. The What; 2. The Why; 3. The How - Toolkits for Campus Police; 4. The Way Forward; and 5. Support Information. Each unit contains subsections that provide content goals for that subsection. This content includes:
  • Learning objectives
  • Knowledge, such as existing literature and emerging evidence and findings
  • Skills
  • Further learning opportunities
  • Other resources and references
In Unit 3, campus police are presented with briefing sheets that were designed "to help police improve understanding of how to best respond to sexual assault case circumstances based on the current science, with an understanding of how barriers can hinder successful victim-centered and trauma-informed investigations." Seven briefing sheets are included in the  Blueprint  that address topics particularly relevant to campus sexual assault:
  1. Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma
  2. The Role of Alcohol and Drugs
  3. False Allegations in Campus Sexual Assault
  4. Confronting "Real Rape" and Understanding Non-Stranger Sexual Assault
  5. Adopting a Victim-Centered Response
  6. Forensic Interviewing
  7. The Intersection of Sexual Assault and Stalking, Domestic Violence, and Strangulation
Unit 4 discusses ways to proactively move forward in addressing campus sexual assault, including campus and community partnerships, prevention, and education.
 
Director Heidingsfield stated, "Having the opportunity to rely directly on the scientific and academic community to inform police practices is a rare and powerful foundation for action. We must publicly acknowledge our moral obligation to understand sexual assault for the life-altering and destructive experience it is, and be champions of those victimized."
Download the flyer (PDF).
Opportunity to Host a Town Hall Meeting for Preventing Underage Drinking

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) invites campus and community allies to join
Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking to create awareness about high-risk drinking and pursue evidence-based counter-measures. SAMHSA has designated colleges and universities as a priority focus.

To organize a 2016 meeting, contact Tom Colthurst with your preferred lead organizer's name, title, email address, and phone number. Hosts are eligible for a limited number of $500 planning stipends on a first-come, first-served basis.

The 2014 recap and flyer introduce Communities Talk. Visit the Communities Talk website for tips and resources, a Quick Start Planning Guidesuccess stories, and creative ideas on how to get started. You may take a look at accounts of successful 2014 experiences by a consortium of New York City campuses and West Virginia University-Morgantown. Especially illustrative is the video of the WVU-Morgantown 2014 Town Hall Meeting.
Learn more about NIJ's Sentinel Events Initiative.
Sentinel Events Initiative
 
Beginning in 2011, the National Institute of Justice  (NIJ), the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, has been exploring the feasibility of using a learning-from-error approach in the criminal justice system by conducting sentinel event reviews (SERs). James Doyle, a Visiting Fellow at NIJ from 2012 to 2014, explains that when bad outcomes occur in a complex social system, such as the criminal justice system, it is rarely due to a single act or mistake. Generally, it is the combination of small errors throughout a system that lead to these bad outcomes, or sentinel events. A "sentinel event":
  • "Signals underlying weaknesses in a system or process.
  • Is likely the result of compound errors.
  • May, if properly understood, provide important keys to strengthening the system and preventing similar adverse outcomes in the future."
Examples of a sentinel event in the criminal justice system include a police shooting, "near miss" acquittals and dismissals of cases that at earlier points seemed solid, wrongful convictions, or the erroneous release from prison of a dangerous offender. The  Final Report of The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing  (p. 22) includes the following recommendation: "Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to implement nonpunitive peer review [sometimes known as "near miss" or "sentinel event" reviews] of critical incidents separate from criminal and administrative investigations."
 
An SER is a non-blaming, ongoing, and routine practice involving stakeholders. Successfully implemented in other professions, the goal of SERs is to better understand how events happened and use the findings to make practice and policy improvements and prevent similar bad outcomes in the future. In 2014, NIJ published Mending Justice: Sentinel Event Reviews (PDF) that explores the potential to learn from errors in the criminal justice system by applying an SER approach. The special report includes an introduction from Attorney General Eric Holder and 16 commentaries from criminal justice researchers, practitioners, and other experts and "early adopters" regarding the implementation of SERs in the criminal justice system. In Jack R. Greene's essay, "Egg Heads Matter: Academic/Agency Partnerships and Organizational Learning," (p. 32) he suggests "universities and colleges, as producers and disseminators of knowledge, can play an important role in these matters - first by assessing sentinel events, systematically and independently, and then convening discussions within and across agencies about the findings of such assessments." 
 
NIJ selected three pilot sites, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, through a competitive process in 2014 as beta test sites for exploring the SER process. In 2015, NIJ published  Paving the Way: Lessons Learned in Sentinel Event Reviews (PDF), which serves as a companion piece to Mending Justice: Sentinel Event Reviews and includes empirical evidence gathered from SERs conducted on justice errors in these jurisdictions.
 
Visit NIJ's Sentinel Events Initiative website to learn more, access additional articles and publications, and to subscribe to receive e-mail updates about NIJ's Sentinel Events Initiative.  
Access our online calendar of events.
Professional Development Opportunities

Title:   Higher Education Webinar: What is Cybersecurity?
Hosted by:   Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region I
Date:  March 16, 2016 at 10:00am ET
Location:  Online
Fee:   Free

Title: Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) Train-the-Trainer
Supported By: Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) and the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS)
Dates: April 27 and 28, 2016
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Fee: Free

Title:  Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis Workshop
Hosted by: The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management
Dates: May 16-18, 2016 (Registration Deadline: April 8th)
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Fee: Registration Fee
This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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