Campus Reform | Campus police departments in US provide crucial student programs, support to communities

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. 

[RELATED: Georgetown students demand to abolish campus police, even with DC crime on the rise]

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.

 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."

 [RELATED: Portland State University to fully disarm campus police force before the fall semester]

 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.

San Francisco State University Police Department similarly operated a program for children, working locally with The Children’s Campus at SF State to run a Summer Toy Donation.

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.

 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. 

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.”  

[RELATED: He was berated by his professor for supporting police. Now he has a message for other young conservatives.]

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.” 

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.