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Borough Council Approves Proposal To Review State College Police Department Conduct

The State College Borough Council unanimously approved the contracting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police to conduct an external review of the State College Police Department’s policies, practices, and procedures.

Three law enforcement consultants will be tasked with conducting the review. They include Executive Director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Jessie Lee, who specializes in communities experiencing racial and ethnic tensions, former Chief of Police at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and experienced university police consultant Sue Riseling, and Mark Lomax, a retired Pennsylvania State Police major.

The proposal states that the assessment will provide “actionable recommendations” for policy updates to help “drive progressive change within the agency and set the course for improved interactions with members of the community.”

The review is expected to take place over the course of six months and is estimated to cost $60,000.

Borough Council President Evan Myers said that the approval of the review adhered to the Council’s promise to address racial and mental health issues as well as it’s support for a review of the police department.

“This continues to support and uphold the pledge that this council made,” Myers said.

Council previously allocated $200,000 in reserve funds to support a list of mental health, racial equity, and law enforcement assessment initiatives in the wake of the shooting death of Osaze Osagie. Among these initiatives was an external review of the State College Police Department’s policies and conduct, which accounted for $50,000 of the total allocation funds.

Osagie died this past March when police officers serving a 302 mental health warrant shot him at his home on Old Boalsburg Road.

Though a report from District Attorney Bernie Cantorna’s office and an internal review conducted by the State College Police Department cleared the officers involved in Osagie’s death of wrongdoing, community members have pushed for increased police accountability and a review of department policies.

Osaze Osagie’s parents, Sylvester and Iyunolu Osagie, recently announced their intent to sue the police department and conduct an independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding their son’s death.

Council previously contracted the National League of Cities’ Race and Equity Leadership (REAL) team to create a racial equity plan for the Borough and formed a mental health task force that met for the first time last month.

The complete IACP proposal and additional notes from the Council can be found in the meeting’s agenda notes.

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

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