Statement from University Police Chief Jeff Earle on George Floyd’s death

Dear UAA Community,

I chose my profession in law enforcement because I believe in public service, and I am committed to upholding the law and ensuring safety in our communities. I was deeply disturbed and disgusted as I watched the video footage of George Floyd’s killing due to the actions of the Minneapolis police officers.

I have spent the last week watching the nation respond to George Floyd’s killing. As a law enforcement professional, I can say unequivocally that Mr. Floyd’s death while he was in police custody was preventable, tragic and horrifically wrong.

I know many members of our campus communities have been deeply wounded by this act of violence, and the many that have occurred before — painful evidence of our nation’s ongoing struggle to overcome systemic racism. As police chief, my commitments to you have always been to cultivate dialogue, listen more closely and learn how we as a UAA community can inclusively move forward. We seek to create a culture of trust.

I am profoundly sorry for the injustice that occurred at the hands of police officers. I am listening, reading, thinking and deeply examining how to move forward, while struggling to find the right words to say and determining the next actions to take to help do my part to ensure that UAA is moving toward true equity.

What I can tell you is that over the last 10 months, our department has taken proactive steps to enhance our standards of service and professionalism. We are reviewing our policies and procedures and aligning them with national best practices established by the Obama administration’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. We also are pursuing accreditation through the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, demonstrating accountability in meeting standards of quality and excellence in our work.

In the coming weeks, we will reaffirm our training for officers regarding a wide range of subjects such as diversity, anti-bias policing, trauma-informed policing and de-escalation. To facilitate greater interaction with faculty, staff and students, we are working toward the implementation of a bike patrol program for the campus. We will also continue to engage with campus governance groups and communicate with transparency.

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This work is underway. As your police chief, I reaffirm my commitment to ALL of you and to your safety. We in the UAA University Police Department will be responsive to your requests and accountable for our actions. Your trust in UPD to provide a safe environment to live, work and study is precious and something we do not take for granted.

Sincerely,

Jeff Earle, CCCO, LCC

Chief of Police, University Police Department

University of Alaska Anchorage