Written Responses to Remaining Questions Community-Based Policing at Penn

Time did not permit Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush to respond to all the questions submitted during the Faculty Senate Seminar held on June 17, 2020.  VP Rush and her team submitted answers in writing to those questions.

Complete video of the seminar can be found here.



  1. Questions Answered During Seminar
  2. Philosophy, Composition, and Jurisdiction
  3. Procedures and Training of Penn Police
  4. Community and Trust-Building
  5. Alternative Policing Approaches
  6. Transparency and Community Representative and Responsiveness
  7. Profiling
  8. Issues Surrounding Funding
  9. Relationships to Policing Organizations
  10. Other Questions


1. Questions Answered During Seminar

Complete video of the seminar can be found here.

A. Have you reviewed your practices as a result of what you have seen in the news over the past four weeks, and if so are you planning to implement any changes?

B. Does racial profiling go on? If it did, how would you know? If you found out that it had occurred, what would you do about it?

C. Controversial policing practices that are the focus of public concern include choke holds and so-called knee-on-neck restraint? Does our public safety division ban use of these practices? 

D. Are Penn Police authorized to use rubber bullets, tear gas, tasers, flash bangs, or pepper spray?

E. Do Penn Police use body cameras?

F. Are Penn Police trained on escalation of force?  How frequently do Penn Police use deadly force?

G. How would a complaint that a faculty member, student, staff member or member of the community had been thrown against a wall without cause or need by a member of the Penn police be filed, investigated, and resolved?  Would an officer found to have engaged in such activity be permitted to remain on the force? Have officers ever been fired for inappropriate conduct?  Has Penn ever settled a lawsuit against police and imposed non-disclosure agreements on those who filed the suit?

H. Some argue that police are being asked or perform functions such as dealing with drug addiction or suicide threats or attempts that would be better handled by those such as social workers with other forms of training. How are these situations handled at Penn? What if any involvement do police officers at Penn have in such instances? Would you consider increasing the number of civilian members of the Division of Public Safety (DPS) to address issues such as mental health services rather than uniformed officers?

I. Since you are President of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, how do you understand the relationship between Penn Police and Philadelphia Police, especially given the large number of complaints against Philadelphia Police by members of the Penn community? Do you see any conflicts of interest in your dual role?

Complete video of the seminar can be found here.



2. Philosophy, Composition, and Jurisdiction

A. What distinguishes DPS from the Philadelphia Police Department, both in practice and in philosophy/mission? 

Penn Police and the entire Division of Public Safety are Guardians of the community.  DPS has the ability to develop close working relationships with the community we serve.  We are particularly focused on the physical safety and mental health of our students 24x7, and in partnership with VPUL, Wellness, Athletics, and many other Penn partners. We also at the same time have a wonderful relationship with the University City and West Philadelphia neighbors.  We attend First Thursday community meetings, as well as four other community meetings monthly.


B. What are the jurisdictional boundaries of the Penn Police?  

The Penn Police patrol zone is comprised of the area between 30th to 43rd Streets and Market Street to Baltimore Avenue.


C. Within Penn Police, what is the distribution of police, patrol officers, and other lines of duty?

  • 1      Superintendent
  • 2      Deputy Chiefs
  • 2      Captains
  • 5      Lieutenants
  • 17    Sergeants
  • 2      Detective Supervisors
  • 2      Corporals
  • 16    Detectives
  • 59    Police Officers
  • 2      K-9 Officers


D. How many are part of the armed police force, and how many are involved in other activities or services?  

DPS has 121 Penn Police officers who are armed-working with the community.  Additionally, the Division of Public Safety has six other departments that support the safety and security of our community.  Specifically, the Special Services Department provides options counseling and support services and the Security Services Department.  The Security Services Department manages the Allied Universal Contract Security officers.  Penn had approximately 650 Security Officers assigned to academic and center buildings, as well as on patrol.  They provide “motorist assist” services, such as lock outs, jump starts, and Walking Escorts to Penn and West Philadelphia Community members.


E. What kind of charges are the Penn Police authorized to level against those they apprehend?   

Penn Police Officers are sworn officers under the State of Pennsylvania.  The Penn Police have full arrest powers and charge from Summaries to Felonies. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office decides on all criminal charges for all police departments in Philadelphia, including the Penn Police Department.


F. What is the breakdown of reported crimes (or misdemeanors) against the Penn community: Students, faculty, staff (including Public Safety personnel), as well as type of infraction?   

The Clery Report provides an overview of crimes reported to the Penn Police over three years.

What trends have you noted? 

Within our patrol zone bike thefts, package thefts (mostly when students are here), and retail thefts.


G. How many Penn Police are former Philadelphia Police?

Twenty-nine (29)


H. What role, if any, have Penn Police played in the police responses to recent Philadelphia protests?

The Philadelphia Police Department requested support from multiple police agencies, including Penn Police within the city and state on Saturday, May 30th to help secure Philadelphia Center City infrastructure.   On May 31st, Penn police responded to multiple Assist the Officers calls from the 18th district officers in the area of 52nd and Market. 



3. Procedures and Training of Penn Police

A. What are the use of force guidelines under which Penn officers work? How do you know that Penn police are following these policies? 

The Penn Police follows the guidelines of Title 18 of Pennsylvania State law and Penn Police Directive #1 Use of Force, overseen by very close supervision by Sergeants and Lieutenants, subject management reports, body camera reviews, and our CCTV street camera network.


B. Do you keep track of how frequently the gun-carrying Penn police have discharged their weapon? And is each instance reviewed to make sure it was justified and appropriate? 

Yes, all Penn police officer shootings are tracked. Every officer involved shooting is investigated by an outside Officer Involved Shooting Team and subsequently reviewed by the Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. The last time Penn Police officers discharged their weapons was in 2010 during an Active Shooter incident. 


C. Does the police union to which Penn officers belong approve of or employ Killology training as promoted by David Grossman?

We are unfamiliar with this term, but googled it and absolutely NOT.


D. Regarding a perception that Penn publicizes "crimes" by those in the community but not the "crimes" committed by students, are there different procedures for Penn versus non-Penn students when apprehended by Penn Police? 

When the Division of Public Safety becomes aware of criminal incidents that in the judgment of the Vice President for Public Safety/Superintendent of Police constitute an ongoing or continuing threat to the campus community, per the Department of Education and the Clery Act regulations, DPS issues a timely warning to notify the community.  Some factors that are considered are:  that the incident occurred within the last 30 minutes, there was violence or a weapon was displayed, it appears that the suspect is still in the vicinity and is a possible on going threat the community.  The affiliation of the offender is NOT a factor in this decision. Penn Police do not distinguish between Penn community members and non-Penn people when charging suspects who have committed a crime.


E. What is the standard protocol with unhoused people on campus? Is the default that they are physically removed from campus? 

Our officers approach and interact with individuals who may be homeless or without shelter with the purpose of providing assistance.   Our officers have been trained in crisis intervention, which includes interacting with individuals in crisis, in need of shelter or other treatment.  We work in collaboration with the University City District (UCD) who has a partnership with the City of Philadelphia Homeless Services and Project HOME (A non-profit organization which provides employment, education, health care and affordable housing). UCD has trained Public Safety Ambassadors working to handle outreach and transportation to local shelters.  Our officers work with individuals through street outreach and help get them to a day shelter and services that are provided through the City or Project Home.


F. What is considered “suspicious” activity? How are officers trained to identify it?

Suspicious Activity can be considered as any incident, event, or activity that may seem unusual or out of place.  This can include open doors or windows at a closed business or private residence; someone peering into windows or cars; someone tampering with electrical, gas, sewer or other utility systems without identifiable uniform or markings.  Our officers are trained not only through the police academy, but during our extensive Officer Field Training Program as well.  Every new Penn Police Officer (regardless of past experience) must go through our Field Training program which is staffed by experienced and certified Penn Police Field Training Officers and Supervisors.  There are daily, weekly and monthly reviews of the new officer’s progress and multi-tier recommendation/approval processes that are reviewed up to the Superintendent of Police before a new police officer is permitted to advance out of the Field Training Program.  Penn Police are trained to look for suspicious behavior and nonstandard conditions while on patrol.



4. Community and Trust-Building

A. The Final Report of The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing notes that there is a correlation between police officer diversity and community trust. To what extent does the community within the Penn jurisdiction trust the police? How does DPS assess or determine the level of community trust, and, how has trust changed across time?

The Penn Police Department has strong relationships throughout the various communities that involve a large portion of the University City District.  We have a store log book program where our officers go into various establishments (Over 100 - groceries, retail, movies, and restaurants) to sign the log, meet with the store employees to greet them and build personal relationships around the clock. We attend monthly meetings with the Garden Court Community Association, Spruce Hill Community Association, Walnut Hill Community Association, Cedar Park Community Association, and the monthly First Thursday Stakeholder Meeting, which encompasses all of the formal community associations.  Our Liaison Officers and Sergeants are regular fixtures at the meetings and have forged relationships with the members of the individual associations and community.  Our Command staff attends the First Thursday meeting which is a large monthly meeting co-hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Office of Government and Community Affairs, the University City District and West Philadelphia residents.  The command staff are regular fixtures at this meeting and have forged strong relationships with the attendees over the years of attendance; many of the attendees to this meeting are participants in the community association meetings. We also have a strong and close relationship with the Director of the Friends of Malcolm X Park who is a regular attendee of the community meetings, as well as the first Thursday meeting.  We also have a community Police Athletic League (PAL) Center in the community, which is staffed by a Penn police officer.  The University hosts and staffs community PAL events, including an annual holiday party for several local PAL centers as well as the annual citywide PAL Basketball championship at the Palestra and the annual ice skating event PAL day at Penn Ice Rink, in which all of the PAL centers throughout the city are invited to participate.


B. How diverse are DPS and its personnel who interact regularly with West Philadelphians? 

DPS strives to be inclusive and recruit from a broad array of interested applicants.

The Penn Police Department is currently comprised of the following demographic makeup: Female: 14.02%, Minority (including white females): 39.25%, BIPOC: 33%.  The Division of Public Safety is comprised of the following: Female: 26.35%, Minority (including white females): 46.71%, BIPOC: 33%.



5. Alternative Policing Approaches

A. What might other models of community safety be that would engender greater trust and openness within West Philadelphia?

Penn Police welcome Penn students to volunteer at the Penn Tucker Police Athletic Center (PAL).  Many Penn students have helped students with SAT Prep, computer programs, nutrition, and writing workshops. Penn Police welcome ideas from Penn Community Members to assist in outreach with the community.


B. In particular, might it be possible to have unarmed community safety officers who are approved by and accountable to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community in West Philadelphia rather than to DPS? 

There are currently 686 Allied Universal employees assigned to the Penn Portfolio (635 to Penn locations; 51 to UCD). These security officers are unarmed; however, they carry radios with direct connection to the PennComm Emergency Communications Center. They provide support to the community through walking escorts, vehicle assistance, and more. The security officers reflect the community in which they serve, and 47% of the officers reside in West Philadelphia.


C. What can Penn do to limit the role of police in responding to mental health calls and expand mental health and community services? 

The Division of Public Safety has long partnered with the Vice Provost for University Life (VPUL), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and College Houses and Academic Services (CHAS), among others when responding to concerns around students’ mental health. When possible, the Division allows Special Services (a plain-clothes victim support unit with sworn and non-sworn personnel) to take the lead in responding to (in partnership with the offices above) and following up with cases dealing with student’s mental health. Additionally, it has been the practice of Special Services for more than a decade to discretely transport students in non-marked vehicles from CAPS, VPUL, CHAS, or their off-campus living situation to the appropriate follow up care (HUP, CAPS, or other provider).

In the last four years, DPS has adopted the HELP Line, a separate and dedicated line for students, families, etc. to call if they are in need of mental health support. The dispatchers answering the call have been trained by CAPS staff to help assess the situation and get students or other callers connected to the appropriate resources. Only in cases where safety is an immediate concern are officers dispatched. All other cases, the caller is connected directly to Protocol (CAPS) or some other resource while our dispatcher remains on the line with them to assure a smooth transition.

The expansion of Mental Health services to cover from 5pm to 9am to respond directly to students who are experiencing mental health crisis would be needed, in lieu of Penn Police Officers response.  Penn Police, Special Services and PennComm Dispatch staff have received extensive training on response to mental health calls and responses by CAPS, as well as by Penn Psychiatry.  As a result of DPS’ responses, in partnership with our extensive Penn mental health professionals, numerous students’ lives were saved.


D. In an interview process following an incident of police misbehavior (e.g., throwing someone against a wall), would you consider interviewing both the victim and the officer at the same time with a psychologist as a mediator (i.e., reformative therapy).

We will conduct some research in this area. DPS is always looking at new and innovative programs.  Penn Police have work successfully for several years with Penn’s Office of Student Conduct in using Restorative Justice for certain level student disciplinary cases.



6. Transparency and Community Representative and Responsiveness

A. Who is on the DPS advisory board?  How are the members selected?

The DPS Advisory Board is comprised of faculty, staff and 3 student representatives of student groups, who represent a broad range of schools, resource centers, business centers and Penn Medicine. These organizations select the person who will represent their entity. 


B. Would including a designated representative from the West Philadelphia community from among individuals not employed by Penn be desirable? 

Several of the Penn staff and faculty DPS Advisory Board members live in West Philadelphia.


C. Would it be constructive for the Faculty Senate to charge a committee to explore means of constructive engagement between UPPD and the community?

I meet regularly with the Faculty Senate Tri-Chairs to discuss trends, and opportunities that will increase DPS’ impact positively on the quality of life of the Penn Community, and issues that the full Faculty Senate would like to hear me present on at my annual Faculty Senate meeting.


D. Since the DPS reviews body camera footage in real time, would you support the creation of a Faculty Senate committee or a civilian committee drawn from faculty, staff, and students that would review a random selection of videos of encounters or stops?

I regularly present Body Worn Camera footage with the DPS Advisory Board, which encompasses many faculty members.


E. How many within the BIPOC community are on the DPS community hiring board?   

The composition of the hiring board changes each time hiring is conducted, depending on the availability of participants. Over the last four years of hiring, each board held 3 to 6 community participants who were BIPOC. Participation in the Hiring Boards requires a large amount of time and we appreciate all who serve on these boards.


F. How many commanders are BIPOC and involved in interviewing for police officers’ positions? 

2 to 3 BIPOC members of the command staff participate in the interviews each round of hiring.


G. Do you have a reliable way of knowing that the officer you are about to hire has not been fired from an earlier policing job or resigned while a misconduct investigation was pending? 

Upon a conditional offer of employment, the Penn Police Detective Bureau initiates a complete background investigation check of the candidate.  This includes contacting all previous employers, and internal affairs division inquiries of all police departments if the candidate previously served as a police officer.


H. Would DPS be willing to publish the data set presented to its advisory board in Almanac?

I believe the current process of presenting to the DPS Advisory Board and having a conversation with the board members about the statistics and answering their questions is the appropriate method of transparency.


I. Why are campus crimes of rape and sexual assault committed by Penn students not reported through the University's public safety crime alert system (UPennAlert)?    

It is important to note that some crimes of rape and sexual assault committed by Penn Students are reported through the UPennAlert. As with anyone who commits a crime, if the offender is seen as an immediate or on-going threat to our community, we will issue an alert. If the alert is not issued, it is only after a significant and intentional assessment of the situation. Some of the contributing factors to not issuing a UPennAlert include: the offender is in custody or there is no ongoing threat to community; the victim/survivor wishes to remain anonymous and posting may expose identifying characteristics; the victim/survivor is experiencing ongoing dating/domestic abuse and such an alert could put them in additional danger; the report is “delayed” in that the timing of the victim/survivor’s readiness to disclose the crime and the date of occurrence would no longer constitute an immediate threat to community; and/or, the details disclosed about of the crime are not specific enough to be helpful in warning the broader Penn community.



7. Profiling

A. How many complaints has Penn Police received from students and faculty who feel racially profiled? Are statistics available on racial profiling complaints or disciplining to back up the statement that you are 99.9% sure there is no racial profiling by Penn Police?

A review of the complaints against police for the past 10 years revealed that there were zero complaints related to racial profiling. Complaints against police are reviewed annually by the DPS Advisory Board.


B. How do you become aware of incidents of racial profiling?

DPS may be made aware about an incident through a phone call, email, our Web Contact link, or a walk-in complaint.  Additionally, below are ways people can make complaints against any member of the Division of Public Safety:

Complaints Against Police can be submitted in writing, by fax, and electronically on the DPS website.

Forms are available at:


C. What steps have been taken to reform campus security since the publication of this article?

I met with the two black femme students the next evening, at a time of their choice, along with William Gipson, Vice Provost of Equity and Access to discuss their concerns.  Prior to meeting with the students, I researched the incident and reviewed the officers body worn camera footage.  As I described during my June 17, 2020 Faculty Senate Presentation I learned that a FRES black male housekeeper called DPS’ PennComm Center and requested police response to Nursing to ask students to move from one of the study rooms, so they could clean the room.  The PennComm telecommunicator understood that there were numerous students and they refused the housekeeper’s request to vacate the room.  Penn Police officers met with the housekeeper and were directed to the room.  The officers explained to two students in the room that the housekeeper would like for them to leave the room, so he could clean it.  The officer asked for one of the students PennCard ID so he could fill out his report.

After meeting with the students I spoke with VP Anne Papageorge and we changed our policies on requesting police to clear rooms for housekeeping.  I also spoke with Nursing Dean Villarruel about the incident and to clarify hours of operations for her building, and when it is closed.  Dean Villarruel defined closing time and posted it on the Nursing website and posted signage in the building.

I apologized to the students for this negative and embarrassing experience and additional training was provided to PennComm staff and the Penn Police.


D. VP Rush has acknowledged that the Penn Police have a complicated history with the LGBTQIA community. One faculty member describes her experience as a member of the LGBT community in interacting with Penn Police:  “I have heard from many about repeated misgendering directed toward LGBT or non-binary, non-conforming students (ie being dismissively called "a small lady" etc) by [VP] Rush and Penn Police. These students continue to experience dysphoria on campus[.]”  Is the DPS aware of these concerns? Are they being addressed?   

I have never stated or acknowledged that I or the Penn Police have a “complicated history with the LGBTQIA community.”  As a Lesbian and the leader of DPS, it’s quite the opposite.  I ensure that all of my members of the Division are trained in all diversity aspects of our community.  In 2015 ALL Division of Public Safety members, including the Penn Police, received Penn LGBT Center-developed training on the Trans*gender community at Penn and in West Philadelphia. This training was conducted by Director Erin Cross. 



8. Issues Surrounding Funding

A. If police departments are defunded and/or fewer police are available at any given time, how do citizens respond when they are threatened or at risk for harm? What do they do if they witness a crime or are a victim of a crime?   

Much conversation will be needed to determine who performs the functions currently being provided by police.   


B. Is the budget breakdown for the Penn Division of Public Safety and Penn Police publicly accessible? If not, why not?

All questions about schools and centers budgets should be directed at Penn’s Budget Planning & Analysis.


C. Has COVID-19 induced budgetary crisis on one hand and demands by communities of color at Penn and in Philadelphia to invest instead in Philadelphia public schools, community centers and public health services, will the University continue support to DPS at current levels?  Conversely, what resources would be necessary to improve DPS.

Funding for DPS is developed in conjunction with the office of Budget Planning & Analysis and the Executive Vice President. 


D. How can we ensure that vital services, particularly support for crime victims, are not harmed by reform efforts?

The University of Pennsylvania is dedicated to the safety, security and support of the members of the Penn Community.  Issues of safety, security and victim support services will always be vital in order for Penn to continue to attract the best and brightest students, faculty, researchers and staff.


9. Relationships to Policing Organizations

A. Why does Penn support the Police Foundation?  

Why support the PPF?  To support training, such as anti-bias training, the Washington DC Holocaust museum’s ADL training, the Washington DC and Philadelphia African American Museums trainings, as well equipment not funded within the Philadelphia Police City Budget, that will enable the PPD officers to protect the citizens of Philadelphia, as well as visitors.  The PPF’s primary mission is to support the professionalism of the PPD.


B. How would you characterize the uses it makes of Penn funds?  

Training programs.


C. What is the benefit to Penn of providing support?

To assist in making the University City and West Philadelphia environment safer.  Many of Penn’s faculty, staff and graduate students have purchased homes west of the Penn Police Department’s patrol boundary.


D. Do you see any conflicts of interest in your dual role as President of the Fund and Superintendent of Penn Police?

I do not see this as a conflict.  I also serve on many other not-for-profits boards whose missions are to improve the quality of life of Philadelphia citizens and visitors, such as the Police Athletic League and the University City District Board.  Additionally, I have co-chaired the Penn’s Way Campaign for over fifteen years.  The Penn’s Way Campaign, Penn’s Workplace Giving Campaign raised over 1.7 Million Dollars last year.  This money supports hundreds of not-for-profit organizations in the Philadelphia region.


E. How does DPS ensure that we do not partner with or support institutions and practices at odds with our community and its principles? 

All board appointments are discussed with University Leadership prior to any member joining.


F. What is the DPS relationship with the Police Executive Research Forum especially with respect to the types of training received from it by DPS personnel?  Is it appropriate for Penn to affiliate with an organization with ties to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and that has worked to quell protests with use-of-force tactics and preemptive mass arrests that have been deemed unconstitutional? 

PERF is a respected Law Enforcement Think Tank.  We consulted with PERF regarding how we capture Stop Data.  I have no direct knowledge about Homeland Security’s involvement in protests.


G. Is there a Memorandum of Understanding between Penn Police and the Philadelphia Police Department? If so, is it accessible?

There is a MOU that defines patrol boundaries and investigative jurisdiction.  It is not a public document.



10. Other Questions

A. Why are students who wish to conduct research on DPS or Penn Police required to obtain approval of their reports from VP Rush?  (See https://www.publicsafety.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/studentconfidentialityagreement.pdf.)

In some cases, students may have access to confidential data involving victims, personnel records, crime reporting records, etc.


B. Can you say what accounts for the apparently large number of crime alerts around 41st and Pine Streets?

 I have not found a pattern of alerts for the area around 41st and Pine Streets. 


Complete video of the seminar can be found here.