The recent loss of a man’s life and the indictment of a university police officer in Cincinnati have rekindled debates over policing schools and colleges.
The member agencies of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association stand alongside every member of every community that has been affected by this tragic event.
University Police Departments operate with a high degree of transparency and accountability to the communities they serve. These same agencies also dedicate themselves to an additional standard of openness and proactive reporting through current federal crime reporting statutes that their municipal partners do not. It is also highly important to note that police officers employed by college and university police departments in California undergo the exact training that municipal peace officers undergo to be eligible for service, and complete an additional set of training programs specifically designed for campus law enforcement professionals.
The statistics of campus law enforcement incidents demonstrate that the training and preparation of police officers serving on college and university campuses actually shows incidents of lethal force to be far fewer. In the 2011 U.S. Department of Justice survey of al law enforcement agencies in the United States, two-thirds of the more than 900 U.S. four-year colleges and universities with 2,500 or more students used sworn police officers to provide law enforcement services. The percentage for public institutions is even higher at 90%.
Campus law enforcement professionals are a dedicated, diverse and highly-skilled and trained segment of public safety who actively engage themselves to know their campus and local communities very well. Campus police officers perform the same duties in protecting and serving their communities as their colleagues in local law enforcement agencies, and with the added expectations that American families share when their sons and daughters go to college to earn their degrees in pursuit of their future goals.
It is important to remember that the loss of any life, in any community, for any reason, is both tragic and troubling. Yet it is also a time for leaders to preserve the process that allows us to determine responsibility and then, just as importantly, the opportunities to eliminate such tragedies in the future.
CCUPCA is dedicated to working with each of its member institutions, campus community partners and our larger surrounding communities for real, lasting solutions that will ensure greater safety, security and proactive remedies to the challenges we all share.