Campus police

Campus police or university police in the United States, Canada are often sworn police officers employed by a college or university to protect that private property of the campus and surrounding areas and the people who live, work, and visit it.


United Kingdom

In the UK, universities do not have a specific police force that responds to crime on university campuses, with the exception of Cambridge University Constabulary[1] and, until 2003, Oxford University Police.[2][3] Most universities will liaise with the local police service through a designated police officer from a Neighbourhood Policing Team. In addition, some universities have dedicated security teams, such as University of Reading's Security Services.

United States

Most college campus public safety departments are actual police departments and able to perform all the duties of sworn police officers including make arrests, issue citations, etc. These departments operate either as individual police departments on campus in cooperation with local law enforcement, or as a part of the local police force (city or state). These officers go through exactly the same training (typically 6 months full-time or more) as local police officers do, but they typically only operate within the campus property. They could, in theory, assist local law enforcement when necessary if that agreement exists between the two departments.

If it is not an actual police department, officers cannot perform the same functions as sworn police officers such as arrest perpetrators or issue citations. Some college security departments have the equivalent of armed security officers that are legally allowed to carry a firearm under that state's individual licensing requirements. For example, Pennsylvania has Act 235 Lethal Weapons Certification that allows public safety officers or private security guards to carry firearms for their employment - including on college campuses. Other states have similar certifications and training requirements. Non-police officer certifications do not give them the right to perform police-specific duties, but does allow for additional security that could be essential should an active shooter or terrorist act come to fruition on a college or university campus. College campus safety officer defensive tactics should be taught to all officers who are hired to protect students on campus, regardless of if they are able to carry a firearm or not.

Many university police officers are commissioned through their state Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) after completing established training and pre-licensure preparation. This is usually equivalent to that of a municipal or state police officer. They routinely attend the same police academy as local or state police officers.

Many campus public safety departments operate some of the same units as municipal agencies such as detective units, special response teams (SWAT or SRT), canine units, bicycle patrol units, motorcycle patrol units, and community policing units. In some cases, campus police agencies are better equipped and staffed than municipal and county agencies in their area due to the significant amount of funding available in a college environment.

The campus police in some state-owned schools may have statewide authority and jurisdiction similar to that afforded to state police. However, this will vary state-by-state.

Hawaii, Idaho, and New Hampshire are the only states in the US to not have a statutory provision for the commissioning of sworn campus police officers. They were joined by Oregon until 2009, when that state revised its system of campus law enforcement in Oregon.

in the 2004-05 school year, 74% of college campuses had sworn officers with the power to arrest, and 90% of these departments were armed[4]

92% of campus police departments are responsible for handling their own dispatching, which means that they are completely self-sufficient agencies. They do not rely on the city police around them to take on their responsibilities.[5]

Also, some public school districts maintain their own police. In Augusta, Georgia, Richmond County Board of Education officers have the same police powers on Board of Education property and facilities including the power of arrest as any other law enforcement official in Richmond County. i.e. Los Angeles School Police Department, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Police Department, New York City Police Department School Safety Division, Richmond County (Georgia) Board of Education Department of Public Safety, just to name a few.


  • Arizona State University Police Department
  • Arizona Western College Police
  • Central Arizona College Police Department
  • Chinle School District Police
  • Eastern Arizona College Police Department
  • Grand Canyon University Police Department
  • Maricopa Community Colleges Police Department
  • Northern Arizona University Police Department
  • Pima Community College Police Department
  • Tuba City School District Security
  • University of Arizona Police Department
  • Yavapai College Police Department


In California several state laws establish the sworn peace officer authority for campus police agencies. Public institutions of higher education; the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges are authorized by California Penal Codes 830.2 [b]&[c] and 830.32 [a].[6][7] Private universities and colleges (e.g., Stanford, University of Southern California, University the Pacific) are authorized under California Penal Code 830.75.[8]


Officers of the Colorado State University Police Department and the University of Colorado (Boulder) Police Department, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Police Department are commissioned officers of the state of Colorado, but also hold commissions through the cities where their universities are based (respectively Fort Collins and Larimer County for CSU; the City of Boulder for CU; Colorado Springs and El Paso County for UCCS).[9]


Both The University of Delaware Police and Delaware State University Police are fully accredited police agencies with full police powers, equipment and Council on Police Training (State Police Academy) Certification.

District of Columbia

  • American University Police Department
  • Catholic University Police Department
  • Gallaudet University Department of Public Safety
  • George Washington University Police
  • Georgetown University Police Department
  • Howard University Campus police
  • University of the District of Columbia Police Department


  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Police
  • Florida Atlantic University Police
  • Florida Gulf Coast University Police
  • Florida International University Police
  • Florida Polytechnic University Police
  • Miami University Police
  • New College of Florida Police Department
  • Northwest Florida State College Police
  • Pensacola State College Police
  • Tallahssee Community College Police Department
  • University of Central Florida Police
  • University of Florida Police
  • University of North Florida Police
  • University of South Florida Police
  • University of West Florida Police


Both public and private institutions of higher education are allowed to establish police departments with the same powers as municipal police in the State of Illinois. Public institutions are given their power to create campus police departments from the act(s) establishing the specific institution. For example, as stated in 110 ILCS 305 - University of Illinois Act, the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois "...may appoint persons to be members of the University of Illinois Police Department. Members of the Police Department shall be peace officers and as such have all powers possessed by policemen in cities, and sheriffs..."[10] All private institutions of higher education derive their power to create police forces from 110 ILCS 1020 - Private College Campus Police Act, which grants equally extensive powers to private campus police officers, stating:

Members of the campus police department shall have the powers of municipal peace officers and county sheriffs, including the power to make arrests under the circumstances prescribed in Section 107-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, as amended, for violations of state statutes or municipal or county ordinances, including the ability to regulate and control traffic on the public way contiguous to the college or university property, for the protection of students, employees, visitors and their property, and the property branches, and interests of the college or university, in the county where the college or university is located.[11]

Although campus police are authorized to patrol and arrest anywhere in the county where a campus is located, institutions may elect to expand or formally codify their jurisdiction with local ordinances, such as the University of Chicago has done in Chicago.[12][13]

Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly proposed a bill in 2015 mandating that private universities and colleges release information about their police departments' actions, but it died in committee.[14] While any data collected by the police departments of public institutions may be subject to FOIA requests, there is currently no legal obligation under state or federal law for private institutions to release comprehensive data about their police departments. However, some private universities make limited amounts of data publicly available in accordance with federal regulations, such as the Clery Act,[15] or to promote positive relationships with local community members and students.[16]


Campus police for public universities in Kentucky are regulated by sections 164.950 and 164.955 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes and are generally granted the same authority and powers of a county sheriff, including power of arrest and the authority to carry firearms both on and off duty, on property owned or occupied by their university of employment as well as any public street running through or adjacent to said property. In certain circumstances, campus police officers in Kentucky may exercise their law enforcement authority outside of their statutory limitations. These include, but are not limited to, situation where campus police officers are investigating potential criminal activity within their jurisdiction, are operating under a mutual aid agreement with another agency or where they are operating at the request of the chief of police or sheriff in the city or county where the university is located or statewide at the request of the Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police. Campus police officers in Kentucky, like municipal police officers and deputy sheriffs, must be trained and certified as peace officers through the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Law Enforcement Training Center at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, unless they have previously completed another recognized police academy. [17][18]

  • Eastern Kentucky University Police Department
  • Kentucky State University Police Department
  • Morehead State University Police Department
  • Murray State University Police Department
  • Northern Kentucky University Police Department
  • Transylvania University Public Safety
  • University of Kentucky Police Department
  • University of Louisville Police Department
  • University of Pikeville Public Safety
  • Western Kentucky University Police Department
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Police Department


Campus police officers for public universities in Louisiana have full police powers on and near their campuses as well as while investigating campus crimes away from the campus grounds.


  • Central Michigan University Police Department
  • Eastern Michigan University Department of Public Safety
  • Ferris State University Department of Public Safety [19]
  • Grand Rapids Community College Police Department
  • Grand Valley State University Department of Public Safety
  • Lansing Community College Police and Public Safety Department
  • Michigan State University Police Department
  • Michigan Tech Department of Public Safety
  • Northern Michigan University Public Safety and Police Services
  • Oakland Community College Police Department
  • Oakland University Police Department
  • Saginaw Valley State University Police [20]
  • University of Michigan Police Department[21]
  • Wayne State University Police Department
  • Western Michigan University Police Department
  • Wayne County Community College District Police


Massachusetts Campus Police Officers typically receive their powers of arrest through M.G.L. Chapter 22C Section 63. (Special State Police Officers) They may also be sworn Deputy Sheriffs as well as sworn Special Police Officers in the town and or city in which their campus is located. Campus Police Officers in Massachusetts must attend at a minimum, a Municipal Police Training Committee's Basic Reserve Intermittent Police Academy and have an Associate degree or higher in Criminal Justice or have attended the full-time Massachusetts State Police Special State Police Officer's Academy.

The following colleges employ police officers:


The University of Minnesota employs its own campus police, the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD). UMPD enforces law on all University property, and works closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to enforce the law in neighborhoods in close proximity to the University, such as Dinkytown. Additionally, UMPD employs a part-time student security force known as the Security Monitor Program, which provides security escorts around the campus area, patrols campus property, and works with UMPD to enforce University, Minneapolis, and Minnesota law around the campus area.


Missouri state statutes give the University of Missouri System the authority to appoint and employ as many university police officers as it may deem necessary to protect persons, property and to preserve the peace and good order in the public buildings, properties, grounds and other facilities and locations over which it has charge or control.[22] Officers of the UM System are empowered with the same authority to maintain order, preserve peace and make arrests as is now held by peace officers.[23]

Missouri state statutes also give the board of regents or board of governors of any state college or university the authority to appoint and employ as many university police officers as it may deem necessary to enforce regulations under section 174.709 and general motor vehicle laws of this state in accordance with section 174.712, protect persons, property, and preserve peace and good order only in the public buildings, properties, grounds, and the other facilities and locations over which it has charge or control and to emergencies or natural disasters outside of the boundaries of university property and provide services if requested by the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction.[24] Officers appointed by a state university or college are empowered with the same authority to maintain order, preserve peace and make arrests as is now held by peace officers.[25]

  • St. Louis Community College Police
  • Washington University Police Department
  • Truman State University Police Department
  • Southeast Missouri State University Police Department
  • Lincoln University Police Department
  • Northwest Missouri State University Police Department

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Campus police can be under two options: Private colleges have police agency status under GS 74E (Company police act) while state university system officers and community colleges have state law enforcement powers, such as mutual assistance, extraterritorial jurisdiction of one mile, the same as municipal police and can also enter into mutual assistance agreements. All police officers must be NC Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) certified and pass all state standards for peace officers.

North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) Police Department is the department that is primarily responsible for patrolling and responding to calls on the UND campus. The police force is on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The police force also works with students and campus organizations to prevent and educate students about crime and the laws that are most applicable to students.


State law in Ohio authorizes the board of trustees of a university to appoint police officers to serve their institutions and jurisdictions. All police officers in Ohio, including university police officers, are trained and certified to the same standards, as overseen by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.[26] As such, university police officers have the same authority to carry weapons and make arrests.[27]



In the state of Pennsylvania there are both public and private campus police agencies.

Public Agencies

Public agencies are the 14 state owned universities and 4 institutions with the designation state related who have formed police departments. Officers from these institutions are recognized under Title 53 §2162(1) as municipal police officers and are required to attend Act 120 police officer training.

State Owned

State Related

Private Agencies

Private non-profit Universities and Colleges may appoint police officers under Title 22 §501(a) by petitioning the local court of common pleas. Officers under this section are afforded the same rights as any other police officer in the commonwealth on and immediately adjacent to any University or College owned or operated property. Private officers are not recognized by Title 53 thus Act 120 training is not required but Act 235 certification is required to carry a firearm.

Rhode Island

University police at public institutions in the State of Rhode Island are sworn police officers.


University police at public and private institutions in the State of Texas are sworn peace officers of the state, and are vested with the same authority as other police officers in Texas.[49] University police at public institutions have county wide jurisdiction wherever the University System owns, leases or otherwise controls property. The jurisdiction of university police at private institutions is limited to the institution itself.[49]

  • University of Texas at Austin Police Department
    • 2 canine units[50]
    • Investigations and Patrol units[51]
    • Honor Guard [52]
  • Texas A&M University Police[53]
    • 2 canine units[54]
    • Investigations and Patrol Units[53]
    • CALEA accredited[53]
  • University of Houston Police[55]
  • University of North Texas Police
    • Investigations and Patrol Units[56]
    • Two canine units[57]
    • CALEA and IACLEA accredited[58]
  • Baylor University Police[59]


In Virginia, state law 23.1-809 through 23.1-818 authorizes college and university police officers to be armed and vests them with the same authority as all police officers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Under the Virginia Campus Police Act of 1977, campus police officers have the powers of arrest and the authority to issue Virginia Uniform Summonses. All campus police officers must complete academy training mandated by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. In Virginia campus police departments can obtain concurrent jurisdiction with the local police and patrol off campus with local circuit court approval.[60][61][62]


West Virginia


  • University of the Philippines Diliman Police (UPDP)[64]
  • University of the Philippines Los Baños - University Police Force (UPF)[65]

See also


  1. "The Constabulary: Proctors: University of Cambridge". University of Cambridge website. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  2. Straw rejoices as Oxford's Bulldogs are put down, The Daily Telegraph, 15 October 2002
  3. Oration by the Senior Proctor Archived 2012-02-05 at the Wayback Machine, Oxford University Gazette, 27 March 2003
  4. Wilson, Charles (2011). "Perceived Roles of Campus Law Enforcement: A Cognitive Review of Attitudes and Beliefs of Campus Constituents". Professional issues in criminal justice. 6 (1): 29–37.
  5. Bromley, Max (1998). "Comparing campus and city police operational tactics". Journal of Security Administration. 21 (1): 41–54.
  6. "California Penal Code, Part 2, Title 3, Chapter 4.5, § 830.2(b) and (c). Peace Officers: University of California and California State Universities".
  7. "California Penal Code, Part 2, Title 3, Chapter 4.5, § 830.32(a). Peace Officers: California Community Colleges".
  8. "California Penal Code, Part 2, Title 3, Chapter 4.5, § 830.75. Peace Officers: independent institutions of higher education".
  9. "Our Jurisdiction - Police". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  10. "110 ILCS 305/  University of Illinois Act". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  11. "110 ILCS 1020/  Private College Campus Police Act". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  12. "Acceptance of Indemnity and Hold Harmless Agreement with The University of Chicago" (PDF). 8 September 2011.
  13. "Our Responsibilities | Department of Safety & Security | The University of Chicago". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  14. "Police departments at Illinois private universities get pass on releasing data". Chicago Reporter. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  15. Safety ·, Department of Campus; Policy, Disclaimer 2019 · Privacy. "Police Log: Campus Safety: Loyola University Chicago". Loyola University Chicago - Campus Safety. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  16. "University of Chicago to Share Additional Information on Police Activities | Department of Safety & Security | The University of Chicago". Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  17. "KRS 164.950 Police Departments and Officers Authorized". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  18. "KRS 164.955 Police Officers - Powers and Duties". Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  19. Fenton, Heidi (12 November 2015). "Night patrol officer finds meth lab in Ferris State parking lot". Mlive. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  20. Johnson, Bob. "Detroiter, SVSU student facing felony waited to pull over in brightly lit area" (6 June 2015). The Saginaw News. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  21. University of Michigan Police Department
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  42. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-10. Retrieved 2019-04-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  46. "University of Toledo Police".
  47. "Police Division - Wittenberg University".
  48. "Texas Penal Code". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  49. "University of Texas Police Department". Retrieved 2014-03-16.
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  59. "Code of Virginia". Retrieved 2014-03-14.
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