URI Police Department forms Student Advisory Council

Coalition is first of its kind at URI

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Student Advisory Council
Student Advisory Council, back row from left: Mario McClain, Justin Hogan, Matthew Marwell, Christian Concessi and Matthew Capuano. Front row from left: Neni Benzan, Kenny Roca, and Kate Fish. URI photo by Randy Osga.

KINGSTON, R.I.- April 9, 2018- Students now have a forum to voice their concerns about campus safety and other issues through an advisory council that meets regularly with members of the University of Rhode Island Police Department.

Thanks to Police Maj. Michael Jagoda and several students the Police Department has its first Student Advisory Council, and it has already met two times this semester.

Made up of about 20 members, the council represents many aspects of campus life, including but not limited to Housing and Residential Life, Greek Life, commuters, members of the LGBTQ community and more. The only non-student member is Jagoda, who attends meetings to directly hear the concerns of the students.

“The council provides students with a direct link to the Police Department to share their concerns,” Jagoda said. “These meetings provide a space for students to bring ideas and to work with police to solve issues that they feel are relevant both on and off campus.”

The Student Advisory Council offers students the opportunity to make positive change through discussion and bringing awareness to issues.

Kenny Roca, a junior criminology and criminal justice major, credits the Student Advisory Council with bridging the gap between students and the police.

“Unfortunately, we are experiencing a time when generally, the relationship between police officers and their communities is a tumultuous one,” said Roca. “Some bad officers around the nation should not define the profession as a whole, especially when the majority of officers are great people with the safety of the communities they serve as their number one priority.”

Members of the Student Advisory Council will also help promote events, including the annual Police Dodgeball Tournament, which gives students the opportunity to interact with officers in an informal setting. In the future, the group hopes to host more events that bolster a positive attitude toward the police.

“This council allows me to gain experience that will provide great advantages when I eventually enter the field,” explained Roca, a Pawtucket native. “The ability to interact with and learn from members of the Public Safety Department and the URI Police Department has assured me that a career in criminal justice or law enforcement is definitely what I hope to pursue.”

“Our community is so diverse,” said Jagoda, “and this council provides the community with the opportunity to partner with police, which assists in the establishment of trust and confidence in our officers.”

Since his arrival at URI in 2015, Jagoda made it a priority to meet with students and assess their needs. After gaining a better understanding of the relationship between the student body and the URI Police Department, the major determined that there was a vital need to improve communication among these groups.

With help from the director of the Talent Development Program Gerald Williams and Mario McClain, a URI and Talent Development Program alumnus, the Student Advisory Council was determined to be the solution.

“My hope is that the council not only makes a positive impact in our community, but also that this partnership can ensure that the Police Department is providing quality services,” Jagoda said. “Building a strong sense of trust and confidence and gaining invaluable feedback from our student stakeholders so they are reassured their concerns and ideas are being heard is a priority of our department.”

Jagoda says the Student Advisory Council is always looking for students to join or become an alternate member if a primary member cannot attend a meeting. Learn more about the University of Rhode Island Police Department and the Student Advisory Council.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.