Not everyone feels comfortable emailing a police chief to share feedback, but through years of relationship building, Lucie Nguyen does.
Nguyen joined the CU Boulder Police Department Community Oversight Review Board after seeing the board’s call for new members and is using her position to make sure information is flowing both ways: from students to police and vice versa.
“I try to use my partnerships to educate,” said Nguyen, a student government tri-executive currently serving as student affairs student body president. “I focus on sharing information. I ask students what they want police to do differently. I make it a point to ask questions, speak up and get answers.”
She notes that student feedback directly informed the university’s piloted expanded alert area as well as the university police department’s data dashboard, both of which debuted in the fall.
CORB 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 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.
New board members cycle in and out due to the fluid nature of life on campus: students graduate, staff and faculty members may retire or move, yet CORB remains committed to keeping the lines of communication between police and those they serve open and active.
Senior Diversity and Inclusion Training and Development Specialist Clara Smith joined CORB almost at its inception.
“People want to know more about police policies and be sure their voices are heard. I, too, wanted to learn more,” Smith said. She has done just that, taking part in a CUPD ride along and attending a departmental training on communicating with people with disabilities. Soon she will sit on a hiring panel for an open position at CUPD.
CORB acts as a sounding board, providing perspectives of those outside of policing to public safety leaders at CU Boulder. The board meets twice each semester and is made up of a cross section of the campus community, plus members of the wider Boulder community.
Nguyen said she appreciates having the time and space to talk through events, learn about police response and emergency notifications, and receive input from other students, faculty and staff members.
“I realize not everyone is going to be happy about every decision made, but at least we will all have a greater understanding of each other,” she said.