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Commander Redman Visits Pitt-Greensburg for Q&A

by: Emily Lohr

Photo Courtesy of Matthias Kinsella on Unsplash

On Oct. 18, a Q&A forum was held in Village Hall 118 for Commander Redman from Oakland. Some organizations present included the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Black Student Union (BSU). Most questions asked were prepared and printed beforehand and set out on every table. Some introductions were made, and Redman discussed some of his background information. Redman stated he grew up in Harmonville, PA, about four hours away.

The main issue brought up was how campus police were handling crises, especially since there were issues with how mental health and Title IX crises were handled on Greensburg campus last year. According to Redman, there have been more additions of de-escalation training and lessons taught on how officers can better recognize more mental-illness symptoms. 

Some of the training they’ve done at Oakland includes Virtual Reality training. In those training sessions, officers wear VR goggles and play out a simulation. In the simulation, the participant can either be in the perspective of the officer or the person exhibiting the symptoms, like someone suffering from schizophrenia. Redman said it is fast, easy, and quick to participate.

“The scenarios help the person see how their communication is being perceived by a person in crisis,” Redman said. “This new AI technology can make our training so much more immersive.”

Redman also went more into detail about the de-escalation training. Now, they are required to do biannual training. Two copies of the most recent Annual Handbook were passed out to the attending students.

Redman also brought up that the Greensburg campus hired a new Title IX Coordinator. He says that in regards to duties, the campus police are the investigative part, and the Title IX Coordinator is the restorative part. 

“We’ve already reached out to the new Title IX Coordinator and we have established a working relationship,” Redman said.

While Pitt Greensburg police have had body cameras the last few semesters, Redman announced that all officers have them on all Pitt campuses.

More direct questions arose halfway through the event. More questions regarding how officers are reprimanded after mishandling situations came up. When asked this, Redman responded that sometimes, mishandling can mean “misunderstanding.” 

“We want to hear from you and talk to you about specifics that happened so we can find better ways to handle it in the future,” Redman said. 

He believes in the mindset that if “you know better, you do better” in regards to the cop’s mindset at the time of the hypothetical incident. With better police training, Redman believes a lot of these issues can be avoided in the future.

SGA are hoping to schedule another meeting with Commander Redman for January, although the specific date has yet to be announced.

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