Campus police departments in US provide crucial student programs, support to communities
Campus police departments across the nation provide programs such as self-defense classes, crime protection, and educational workshops.
Officers also participate in community outreach, from collecting bikes and toys for kids to supporting children in the hospital.
Despite increasing student calls to abolish police, campus police departments continue to make a positive impact on the community.
Campus departments provide crucial programs, which, according to information provided to Campus Reform by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), often include self-defense courses, on-call safety escorts, and crime protection programs.
Many also host frequent educational workshops, residence hall talks, and special events. The University of Utah, for instance, recently offered free bike registrations and locks to students and staff.
On May 19, at the Campus Bike Shop, we partnered with @sustainableuofu and @UofUCommuter to offer bike registrations and free U-locks to faculty, students and staff. Campus Security officers also joined us, having a great time helping the U community get their bikes registered. pic.twitter.com/8HDOADFdv9
— University of Utah Police (@UofUPolice) May 31, 2021
Similarly, the University of Nevada police department advertises free training in workplace violence, personal safety, identity theft protection, and special demonstrations, such as the one they hosted on teaching students how to stop bleeding using tourniquets and other techniques.
“The predominant and overriding concern of every parent is to ensure their children receive a great education and life changing and successful college experience when they enter a college or university,” IACLEA Executive Director John Bernhards told Campus Reform. “Campus public safety officers and leaders understand this and work tirelessly and are dedicated to advancing the mission of higher education and keeping students, faculty, campus employees and visitors safe."
But such programs are not limited to campus. Departments are often engaged with and provide support to their local communities.
At Ohio State — where students occupied the student union and demanded the university sever ties with Columbus Police — campus police partnered with other local departments and a nonprofit to collect books and bikes for kids in need. In total, they donated 400 bikes.
Officers saw it as a way to remember why they joined the police force: to help people.
“For me, as an individual, it comes back to what’s the why. Why did you get into law enforcement? And it’s to help people,” Lt. Marjorie Rizalvo, who participated in the outreach, said to Ohio State News.
— OSU Police (@OSUPOLICE) June 22, 2021
Today, in partnership with The Children’s Campus at SF State, we facilitated a Summer Toy Donation! Thank you to all the families that donated toys, and a huge thank you to the staff at The Children’s Campus. #SummerToyDonation #ChildrensCampus #SFState #SFStatePD pic.twitter.com/tq1Clgzcil
— San Francisco State University Police Department (@SFStatePD) June 15, 2021
University of Nevada police sent an officer out to introduce kids to the police dogs. University of Utah police encouraged children at the University Hospital by showing up with their cars, music, and lights. For one child who wanted to become a police officer, they even posed for a picture.
In May, we met a pediatric patient at the University Hospital who wants to become a police officer. We enjoyed the opportunity to meet with patients and show our cars and lights, radios, and music!
Thank you, @uofuburncenter for helping us serve our community. pic.twitter.com/VK0Gm1gdmU
— University of Utah Police (@UofUPolice) June 21, 2021
New York State University Police officers from the University at Albany surprised an 11-year old suffering from cancer by showing up for her rally.
Last evening, UPD @ualbanypmts @ualbanywbb and @ualbany community members participated in a surprise rally at Albany Med for Anna LaBella, an 11-year-old battling Ewing's Sarcoma to remind her she is not alone in her fight. #ualbany #updinthecommunity pic.twitter.com/aWD0MSXSh1
— New York State University Police at Albany (@UAlbanyUPD) May 28, 2021
Programs like these can result in connections between the police departments and their communities
“I want to be a police officer when I grow up,” wrote 8-year old Connor in a letter to the Arizona State University Police Department, which they later shared. “Please tell all the officers that I appreciate and support them.”
Students appreciate the support, too.
After her May graduation, one University of Kentucky student tweeted a heartfelt message of gratitude for a campus officer who supported her through many personal trials.
“I couldn’t let today go by without thanking the woman who went above and beyond to fight for me,” she wrote. “She helped me keep going when I thought there was no hope. Thank you for caring, Jen.”
I couldn’t let today go by without thanking the woman who went above and beyond to fight for me. She helped me keep going when I thought there was no hope. Thank you for caring, Jen. @UKPolice pic.twitter.com/7jllUIbf6e
— addison jarecki (@addisonjarecki) May 14, 2021
Campus Reform reached out to the Ohio State, University of Nevada, University of Utah, SF State University, and New York State University police departments for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter @katesrichardson.