The University of Colorado Police Department (CUPD) Community Oversight Review Board (CORB) is accepting applications on a rolling basis this spring semester. Board leaders are seeking two new members from the campus community.
The board was created at the recommendation of a community safety task force, which formed in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. The task force, composed of representatives from student, faculty, and staff governance as well as members of CUPD, met several times during that fall semester, ultimately deciding that a community board would best meet the objectives and needs of the CU Boulder community.
The board’s fall 2021 meetings included presentations by CU Boulder Police Chief Doreen Jokerst, who educated the group about CUPD’s body-camera quality assurance group, among other transparency initiatives. Members of that group review randomly-chosen videos on a monthly basis to help ensure fair, unbiased policing.
Jokerst also spoke about CUPD’s hiring process, which some CORB and student government members have participated in, providing recommendations on the candidates’ suitability for employment.
Jokerst invited board members to ride or walk along with CUPD officers to gain a better understanding of the work performed. “It’s great when involved community members can really see what we do, and how university policing may differ from municipal policing,” said Jokerst, pointing out the unique opportunities CUPD officers have to interact with a large population of young people.
CORB’s goals include building trust and fostering greater transparency between CUPD and the broader university community. Staff Council representative and interim board chair Kelsey Draper said he joined the board to help serve as a bridge between CUPD and the campus community. “It’s important to me to break down that power structure, and humanize policing. If we can support Chief Jokerst in her philosophy of community policing, we can strengthen the relationship between the department and CU Boulder’s students, faculty and staff.”
Board member and tri-executive Kavya Kannan, a senior at CU Boulder, said the board’s focus is ever-evolving but includes community engagement between campus police and student groups, with an emphasis on marginalized communities.
Although Kannan graduates in May, she hopes the board continues its meaningful and important work. “I feel very hopeful with Chief Jokerst’s enthusiasm that CUPD can become a pioneering institution that shows other police departments not only how to communicate more effectively about their policing efforts, but also how to engage with the community on a more frequent, consistent basis,” she said.
Students, faculty and staff interested in applying to be part of CORB can apply through this link. The at-large positions are open until filled.
According to CORB bylaws, the board needs to include at least two undergraduate students, two graduate students, two faculty members, two staff members and two at-large campus community members. There’s no quota for student membership, and Kannan said student government groups will be using their social media platforms to actively recruit fellow students.
The board is co-directed by leaders from CU Boulder’s Offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Integrity, Safety and Compliance.