Office of the President

Our Move to Community Policing

September 2, 2021 

Dear Campus Community,  

Over the past few years, we have made important progress together in our Commitment to Action on creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for our students, faculty and staff. While much work remains, we are taking significant steps forward today, and in the months ahead, by moving our University Police Department (UPD) to a community policing framework that prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of our campus community.

This is a pivotal moment for policing, not only on our campus, but in the nation, with law enforcement agencies looking to forge stronger connections to the communities they serve and rebuild trust.

We are grappling with similar challenges here at Cal Poly Pomona, where the bonds of trust have been strained between UPD and members of the campus community—particularly students, faculty and staff of color. Last year, this strain resulted in strong statements from our student and faculty leaders calling for change. I understand the pain and frustration that motivated the resolutions from ASI and the Academic Senate and others within our campus. I also believe that we all—including the valued members of our UPD—aspire to develop and support genuine relationships within our community, based on our shared values and mission.

We are already moving in this direction, thanks to the students, faculty and staff of the Police Advisory Task Force (PATF)—including the chair, Dr. Alejandro Covarrubias, executive director for student inclusion and belonging—who have invested significant effort since fall 2020 in rethinking the future of policing at CPP. We are committed to implementing three key recommendations in the PATF report released today:

  • Adopt a community policing framework for UPD; 
  • Strengthen the relationship between the campus community and UPD; and  
  • Create a standing Police Advisory Board as a symbol of change and representation for student voices.  

The Police Advisory Board will tackle five priorities in its first two years, starting with bringing together all campus stakeholders as one CPP community to improve trust, communication and transparency.

The work of the PATF and our move to community policing is also strongly influencing the characteristics we seek in our next chief of police: a visionary law enforcement leader who brings a commitment to, and experience in, safety and security within a learning community. I thank our Chief Search Committee members, representing stakeholders from the campus community, who have begun the recruitment process—in which you can participate—with the goal of having a new chief begin during the spring semester. The search committee is chaired by Dr. Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez, associate vice president for student health and wellbeing, reflecting the critical partnership of UPD in supporting student wellbeing. While the chief and UPD will continue close collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs, the formal reporting line will be to the Division of Administrative Affairs in recognition of the many responsibilities for maintaining the physical safety of the campus which are aligned with the operational focus of that division.   

I also express my gratitude to David Hall, our interim chief of police, who has already started UPD’s transition to community policing in his first three weeks on the job and will continue to advance our progress in the months ahead.  

Finally, because it is incumbent on all of us to create and sustain the culture of inclusion that we wish to advance at Cal Poly Pomona, I encourage you to engage in dialogue on community policing at CPP during a Campus Conversation to be on Sept. 14. The responsibility for creating an inclusive campus environment where students, faculty and staff can thrive and succeed is a collective one. Your continued contributions will be essential in realizing this vision as we move to embrace community policing.


Soraya M. Coley, Ph.D.