The Oklahoma State University Police Department partnered with the OSU Division of Institutional Diversity to complete a 10-hour Inclusive Excellence Certificate Program aimed at promoting awareness and education across the campus community. The diversity and inclusion program, certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, consisted of five individual workshops, each lasting two hours. Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, OSU vice president for Institutional Diversity and the university’s chief diversity officer, facilitated the five-part certificate program.
Since October, every sworn OSUPD officer — 32 in all — has completed the certificate program, including Police Chief Leon Jones and Chief Public Safety Officer Michael Robinson. The program was designed to promote the department’s collective and individual awareness of the importance of supporting and advancing a culture of inclusion at OSU.
Jones said having every officer take the class was true to the department’s motto of “Professionalism through education and training.”
“Diversity and inclusion are vital to every community,” Jones said. “We are committed to providing the best police services possible to our Oklahoma State community. Dr. Kirksey presented a top-notch class that was educational and enlightening. It will make us all better officers and community servants. It was in-depth and covered difficult topics. We can’t thank him enough for offering his time and expertise.
”The lessons emphasized the value and importance of the officers recognizing the vital role they play as members of the community rather than just as protectors of it.
“The workshop conversations focused on strategies to mitigate, if not prevent, engagements that diminish opportunities for community building. The workshops provided officers with an in-depth understanding of the critical role they have of not only ensuring public safety and well-being of the OSU community, but also serving as some of the institution’s most significant ambassadors,” Kirksey said. “OSU police officers consistently interact with students, faculty and staff as well as alumni and guests to a greater extent than virtually any other area or set of individuals on campus.”
Kirksey said one of the primary goals of the certificate program was to identify and break down the “us versus them” mentality that often exists between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
“The OSU Police Department’s willingness to participate in this pilot certificate program certainly demonstrates a significant and sincere commitment to creating a culture of inclusion beyond that of any other area of the university,” Kirksey said. “In alignment with the community policing organizational culture implemented by OSU Police Chief Leon Jones and his command staff, this commitment to participate in the 10-hour certificate program creates a model for other law enforcement, fire and emergency services agencies to adopt. Such agencies represent the most significant commitment to promoting and advancing a culture of inclusion within a community.”