A university lecture hall was full of students awaiting Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.’s event called Oh Sh*t It’s the Cops. The fraternity invited officer Jaison Frazier to lead the conversation on how to interact with the police.
The conversation started with Frazier asking who had good or bad experiences with the police. He gave tips and advice to students that shared bad experiences.
Students were also able to ask questions about the idea of probable cause and if the police need permission to search someone’s car.
“We’re trying to bridge that gap between police and students,” Frazier said.
Frazier is known as the “people cop,” according to Dalvin Josias Sejour, a senior information and technology major who is also treasurer and public relations officer for Phi Beta Sigma.
“A lot of the students like Officer Frazier because he is one of the cops that you see at events, walking through campus, the gym or in the Student Center, and he’ll shake everyone’s hand,” said senior Dominic Bowman, president of Phi Beta Sigma. “People see him as a friendly person, compared to the cops that you only see when it’s trouble.”
Students were also able to suggest things to Frazier that would make Montclair State University Police Department (UPD) better. Sensitivity training and domestic violence training were a few of the many suggestions given to Frazier.
A student also asked if they were able to be escorted to their dorm by police since they have to walk through the university’s New Jersey Transit station every night. Frazier confirmed that UPD already offers that. He then gave out UPD’s phone number in case anyone would want an escort.
“With the rise of police brutality within the last few years, to even see that we can get to a space where we can have a conversation with police officers [and] to come to some sort of resolution shows that there is room for growth in our justice system, and that not all cops are bad people,” said junior Mechi Brown. “More events like this are needed where there is more interaction between police and students, and we should be able to establish a personal connection with someone who is supposed to be protecting us.”
Bowman also said he would want these events to be geared more toward freshman so that their first encounter with UPD is not only when they are in trouble.