Task force to review police, campus community relations

A special task force has been appointed by UT Southwestern President Dr. Kern Wildenthal to review the relationship of the UT Southwestern campus community and its police department. The committee is charged with examining a broad range of questions related to balancing the security requirements of an urban campus with the desire to create a welcoming and collegial atmosphere.

The group will be chaired by Dr. Charles Ginsburg, associate dean for academic administration, and will be composed of representatives from all areas of the campus, including faculty members, students, administrators, staff and police personnel.

"We want to facilitate a dialogue that will create understanding and mutual respect among all elements of our large and diverse community to help guarantee that our campus is open and hospitable to students, faculty, visitors and all with legitimate business here," Dr. Ginsburg said.  "At the same time, we recognize that our campus police face the constant challenge of ensuring a secure environment in the center of Dallas."

Dr. Al Gilman, interim dean of UT Southwestern Medical School, observed that the mission of the committee is particularly important as the search begins for a new leader of the police department after the retirement of former Chief Larry Coutorie.

"This will enable us to go forward with a better understanding of the department's role on our campus and of the responsibilities we all share for the interactions between the campus community and the police officers who protect us," he said.

Thomas Bickers has been appointed as interim chief of police. He came to UT Southwestern as assistant chief of police in 1999 from Rice University.

Committee members in addition to Dr. Ginsburg are: Sgt. Ken Baptiste, University Police; Chief Bickers; Dr. Michael Brown, professor of molecular genetics; Swati Choudhary, graduate student and research assistant in physiology; Drs. Joaquin Cigarroa and Byron Cryer, associate professors of internal medicine; Wendy Deaner, administrative manager for pharmacology; Dr. Andrea "Andie" Duncan, resident in pediatrics and former UT Southwestern medical student.

Dr. Dan Foster, professor of internal medicine; Dr. Christine Kim Garcia, assistant professor in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development; Sue Harjo, director of the Office of the Dean of UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Lt. Vicki Henderson, University Police; Lear Johnson, allied health student; Pam Jones, administrative manager in pediatrics; Dr. Premlata Kumar, postdoctoral researcher in pediatrics; Dr. Lynn Little, chairman of medical laboratory sciences; Deepak Nijhawan, student in the Medical Scientist Training Program; Jesse Oliver, associate director of human resources.

Dr. Susanna Parker, associate dean for student affairs; Suzanne Rivera, director of the Office of the Dean for UT Southwestern Medical School; Dr. Michael Roth, professor of biochemistry; Dr. Angela Shoup, assistant professor of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery; Angelica Smith, medical student; Dr. Celestine Thomas, postdoctoral Howard Hughes Medical Institute associate and researcher; Alethia Villasenor, graduate student and research assistant in internal medicine; Dr. James Wagner, associate dean for student affairs; Dr. Michael White, associate professor of cell biology; and Jenny Zacarias, assistant director for the James W. Aston Ambulatory Care Center.