Campus, News

New chief envisions university police as an integral part of educational process

Newly appointed Long Beach State University police Chief John Brockie envisions changes in the UPD including uniform appearances and developing a “mobile crisis team” to stabilize crisis situations occurring on and off campus.

Brockie has worked with the UPD since 2019, after leaving his position as captain at the California State University, Fullerton police department.

He acknowledged that he hasn’t been at CSULB long but said he is making an effort to reach out to underrepresented groups on campus.

“I knew a lot of them as a captain and I haven’t been here for a real long time and the pandemic didn’t help,” Brockie said. “So [I’m] really looking towards the fall and increasing our outreach to students and faculty and staff.”

Another way Brockie plans to make campus police more approachable is by making changes in officer uniforms. Officers attending campus events will wear polo shirts instead of wearing “intimidating” gear.

“I don’t see us getting away from officers in uniform with all their gear, because that’s a specific function for patrol,” Brockie said. “But if we’re passing out pizza in the quad, do I really need all that gear?”

Another addition to the department Brockie is working on for the fall 2022 semester is to develop a “mobile crisis team.”

The UPD partnered with the Division of Student Affairs Health and Wellness to obtain a grant from the Behavioral Health Justice Intervention Services to fund the team. The team will consist of two staff members who will respond to calls on and off campus in the evening when other campus services are closed.

“If we get a call at 10 o’clock at night about an individual having some mental health challenges, the only people available are our officers,” Brockie said. “And then we go back into that, are our officers really mental health professionals? Is it going to make the situation worse when officers show up?”

Brockie also plans on tackling diversity in the department. He said that the department will hire officers that meet their standards, but will also have student demographics play a part in the recruitment process.

“We will also keep in mind the demographics and how important it is for our students to see people or see officers that look like them,” he said.

According to Brockie, the UPD is allocated 26 officers, but has 19 officers total. Of the 19 current officers, 11 are people of color. Three of the 19 officers are women.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley wrote in an email that she has known Brockie for several years and is impressed with his commitment to community policing.

“He is well respected by members of the Beach University Police Service,” Conoley wrote. “I’m confident he will continue to improve relationships among police, faculty, staff and students.”

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