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Division of Public Safety Statement on the Death of George Floyd

Thursday, June 4, 2020

On May 25th the world witnessed the horrible and cruel death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis Police Officers.  I say four officers, because three officers stood by and watched their colleague take Mr. Floyd’s life over a very painful eight minutes, forty-six seconds, while Mr. Floyd begged for his life, and called upon his deceased mother to help him.  Every time I watch that video I feel both rage at the actions of these ex-police officers and a deep sadness that this man died such a public, painful, and illegal death.  This incident triggered a call to action across America.

The delay in charging ex-police officer Derek Chauvin with murder, escalated the intensity we are witnessing across the country. The State’s delay in charging the other three officers with related offense until today, also contributed to the pain and anger felt across the nation.

We will continue to support those exercising their First Amendment protected right to protest the injustice they see and feel. We have assisted in providing safe passage for these civically engaged individuals and will continue to do so.

Actions of bad actors in police departments, disgrace ALL police officers and police departments across our country.  This is why we in the UPPD ensure that our hiring, retention, discipline, and ultimately dismissal processes are fair and swift.

Our officers attend many trainings to better understand, relate to, communicate with and support our community. For many years we have sent Police Officers and PennComm personnel to the Washington, DC Holocaust Museum to an education program for Law Enforcement officers developed and delivered by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  This training is important because it teaches us how dangerous it is for people in authority, who have power over other people, to misuse that power. This training must be internalized and practiced everyday by every police officer in our agency. Police Officers have the ultimate power over people’s lives, and when not used appropriately and lawfully, it can result in the death of a human being.

We have two mottos for our agency.  “It’s all About Relationships” and “Make Emotional Deposits in the Bank”.  We often talk about why it’s important to make emotional deposits in the bank – because someday, somewhere across the country, one or more police officers will do something so outrageous that it puts a blemish on our department, our badge. I am proud of the way everyone in DPS makes Emotional Deposits every day.  Because of them, we are a highly respected and loved Police Department and Division of Public Safety.

We urge everyone to keep your hearts open, as we pledge to as well. Keep the faith during this very difficult time.

Maureen S. Rush, M.S., CPP
Vice President of Public Safety
Superintendent of Penn Police
Division of Public Safety
University of Pennsylvania