PHOENIX — The Arizona State University Police Department announced Wednesday that it has joined a national program that aims to change the narrative of law enforcement to a more peaceful tone.
The Peace Officers Project uses a framework and training to focus police departments on solving problems while enforcing the law.
“It is important to note that we are not held accountable for ‘police officer standards’, but for ‘peace officer standards’ taught by AZPOST (Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training) since its inception,” said ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson. A press release.
“The difference between the two is important, and too often overlooked in our field. We hope to change that and return to our roots.
The project, which the ministry joined in May, emphasizes community engagement and collaboration.
“Our job, especially in a community-focused department like ours, is to be a force for de-escalation and peace,” Thompson said.
“For this reason, we take the moniker ‘Peace Officer’ to heart and will begin to evolve our internal structure to reflect that.”
A promise the ministry is making as part of the draft is to do its best to control crime while doing “everything in our power not to harm the communities we serve and protect.”
“While this commitment is not new to ASUPD officers, it is important to publicly state and outwardly express a sentiment already strongly emphasized within the department,” Thompson said.
About 18,000 departments across the country have joined the free program which is part of the non-profit organization Police2Peace, according to the official website.