If Penn State wants to send a dramatic message that it's changing its culture in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, hiring an outside department, ideally state police, to take over its law enforcement operations is a place to start.
Such a move would be a constant visual reminder that things have changed and would remove police from university politics and pressure.
This could reassure employees that they have nothing to fear from reporting reasonable suspicions of crimes - as was the case in the Sandusky scandal.
A report issued Thursday by Louis Freeh and his law firm, hired by the Board of Trustees to investigate the Sandusky allegations and the university's response, found that fear of being fired kept some janitors from reporting a 2000 incident.
One janitor told co-workers he witnessed Sandusky performing oral sex on a young boy in a university shower. Another told investigators that he saw two pairs of feet in a shower and later saw Sandusky and a young boy walk hand-in-hand out of the facility.
That janitor told investigators for Freeh that they feared for their jobs if they reported the incident.
It "would have been like going against the President of the United States in my eyes," he said, adding, "Football runs this university."
Ultimately, the men remained silent until a grand jury investigating the matter uncovered what they knew. That delay allowed Sandusky to molest several more boys.
The fear the janitors felt about potentially reporting the activities of a prominent person in the university must be eradicated. Removing police from direct university control, by subcontracting those services with an outside agency, could achieve that.
Seeking an outside contractor for law enforcement is not a reflection on the university police, which came through the Freeh report virtually unscathed. The report praises the university police response to a 1998 shower incident, which ultimately then Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar decided not to prosecute.
But as long as the police answer to university officials, there will be real or perceived beliefs that their actions and investigations could be improperly influenced.
It's also troubling that university police officers apparently were never made aware of Mike McQueary's 2001 report of suspected sexual activity between Sandusky and a young boy in a university shower - even though the information was related to Gary Schultz, who then as vice president of business and finance, was in charge of the department.
While McQueary and others might have thought that by telling Schultz, they were informing police, there is no indication in the Freeh report that Schultz ever relayed that information to officers.
That shows another weakness in the current system.
As the Freeh report states, policies and the culture at Penn State must change in an effort to keep another Sandusky scandal from happening. But many of the recommended changes won't be readily visible to the public.
That's where police outside of university control or influence could be a visible reminder that things truly are different.
It's an idea the Board of Trustees should seriously consider.