January 2023

Face to Face: Community Policing at UMB

January 20, 2023    |  

On the Jan. 19, 2023, edition of "Virtual Face to Face with President Bruce Jarrell," University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, discussed community engagement efforts of the UMB Police Department (UMBPD) with Outreach Liaison Officer Cpl. Yale Partlow.

Without a doubt, the UMB campus is one of the safest places in the city. Rumor and casual perception may say otherwise, but as students and employees of an institution of higher education, members of the UMB community know there is no substitute for the facts. UMBPD releases those facts every year in the annual Clery Report.

The latest Clery Report showed just one robbery and two aggravated assaults reported on campus over a 12-month period — and no other violent crimes — whereas Baltimore City police reported 2,700 robberies and 5,400 aggravated assaults citywide during the same period.

Of course, there’s no way to know exactly why so few serious crimes are committed on the UMB campus, but it seems reasonable to credit most of that to the men and women of UMBPD and the way they go about their work. The department’s mission statement promises providing “professional public safety services ethically and fairly through education, engagement, and collaboration.”

Before dismissing those words as boilerplate, a quick look at UMBPD’s community engagement and community policing efforts will reveal an array of programs that engage and collaborate with not only the campus community, but also the people who live, work, and even just pass through UMB every day.

Effective policing is about much more than preventing or responding to crime. It’s about working as agents of positive change in the greater community and building relationships and trust to be effective in that role. A key part of that effort is UMBPD’s Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST).

Since COAST’s founding in 2018, the team has been honored with significant awards each year — most recently the governor’s award for outstanding proactive crime prevention program in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW).

Of course, the honors are far less important than the impact of their work.

The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program redirects people arrested for low-level drug crimes away from possible jail time and into treatment, connecting them with case managers and other health services.

UMB’s comfort canines lend support to people in times of crisis, to communities impacted by violence, and to victims of tragedy or those suffering with depression.

Police and security officers partner with the UMB Community Engagement Center to provide free after-school mentoring for youth in the community through the Police Athletic/Activities League.

The Homeless Outreach program provides resources for persons who are homeless or unsheltered. In one part of that effort, police partner with Paul’s Place, social workers, doctors, and students to provide services through an outreach collaborative.

UMBPD collaborates with UMSSW, community groups, and local youth supporting what’s known as the Healing Youth Alliance to help whole communities cope with the impact of any sort of trauma.

And another partnership with UMSSW, the Eutaw Street Initiative — which includes community partners the Sons of Phoenix and the Peace Team — connects people, often returning citizens, with the services they need, such as drug treatment services and vocational training that often involve difficult navigation through bureaucracy.

During the program, Jarrell and Partlow discussed the effectiveness of UMBPD outreach efforts and the positive impacts on the UMB campus and surrounding communities. Watch the entire discussion, including questions from the virtual audience, by accessing the link at the top of this page.