Central Connecticut State University’s Campus Police Department has been rocked by controversy, which led to an investigation. Among the issues — a female campus police officer said a male campus police officer sexually assaulted her, there were accusations of a fraternity-like culture with a lack of discipline, and questionable hiring practices.
Since all of that came to light in an independent investigation, CCSU’s President, Dr. Zulma Toro, fired the male officer accused of sexual misconduct and she dismissed the former head of the department.
Today, she announced more changes designed to create more discipline and a more professional environment within the department.
“It was a disappointment for sure,” said Dr. Toro. “But I am a firm believer that what you need to do under those circumstances is understand how you got to the point where you are and look for solutions.”
Among some of those solutions announced today — officers will undergo enhanced sexual harassment training and background checks on potential new officers will be improved.
News8 asked Dr. Toro to comment on the enhanced sexual harassment training.
“Also, we have established and offer training to supervisors in how to use positive reinforcement, how to use progressive discipline to change the behavior of our officers,” she said.
We also asked her about the changes to background checks.
“The process now requires approval of multiple individuals to hire new officers,” she said.
Dr. Toro sent an email to every CCSU student this morning detailing her policy changes and why she feels they’re needed. Students were reading the email inside the Student Center today:
“A culture of unprofessional and disrespectful behavior existed within the department. discipline was lacking.”
Students tell News8 they’re glad something is being done.
“It makes me trust the fact that our school does care about us and does care about our safety,” said CCSU student, Jaclyn Ortiz.
“The police department should not have this type of behavior especially if they’re going to protect students,” said CCSU student, Admir Hodzic.
Dr. Toro met with campus police officers this morning to explain the policy changes and her expectation for how they will effect officers and the campus community in the future.
“They will lead to a safer environment, but also to an environment in which every individual who’s part of the Central community feels comfortable in approaching any officers,” Dr. Toro said.