Police Review Panel Has Tight Scope: Police Policies

The Tech sat down with Professor Robert J. Silbey last week to talk about the Campus Police review panel. Silbey is chairing the panel (see membership below) formed in the aftermath of the arrest of then-MIT Police Officer Joseph D’Amelio on drug trafficking charges.

Silbey said the review panel is narrowly focused on the policies and procedures of the MIT Police, and not on particular incidents, review of particular events, and not on hacking.

Those polices and procedures, which Silbey described as a 3" stack of paper, are “almost entirely about how the police chain of command operates, what training is required, how the evaluations are done, what disciplinary procedures there are, and other administrative issues of that kind,” Silbey said.

The panel is evaluating those policies and procedures in accordance with its charter, which is to determine whether those policies, along with “governance and disciplinary systems,” are those “needed to promote police practice at the highest level.”

Because of the committee’s narrow breadth of focus, student input was not deemed critical to the committee, Silbey said. The committee is not actively soliciting student input, nor does a student sit on the committee.

The panel’s work is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month. Its written report will be submitted to Executive Vice President Theresa M. Stone SM ’76 and President Susan J. Hockfield. The report will probably be confidential, Silbey said, but a public summary may be made available.

One open question is the public status of the MIT Police’s Policies and Procedures. Sources have told The Tech that those policies are confidential, unlike those of other police departments such as Cambridge Police Department and the Mass. State Police.

Silbey said the panel was not aware of the public status of those policies, but that transparency of those policies might be something the panel would examine.