Is a campus police force an actual police department?

I go to a well-known university on the state of Washington that has it's own police department, small station/office, and a few cars. Possibly maybe 10 officers (rough estimate, i could be wrong).

The town the college is in, of course has it's own police force as well. There are 29,000 people in town when school is in session, and around 8000 people when it isn't, so not that big of a city.

So what's the campus police then? They seem too professional to be simply rent-a-cops, and anyways, wouldn't those types of officers be called simply 'security'?

Do they have jurisdiction off campus property?

If someone commits a crime on campus, would the town police respond as well - since the college is within city limits.

Does the city police have any jurisdiction on campus?

Do the departments share jurisdiction or resources in some way?

Do the campus police have any jurisdiction over non-students?

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This depends greatly on the laws of your state and how the campus has contracted out, etc.

    I went to Iowa State, and back then they had campus security. They were essentially "rent-a-cops" - security guards. The campus was state property and therefore not part of the city and therefore the city cops had no jurisdiction there. Having said that, the campus security could "deputize" them, if needed and authorize them to come on campus. This was, however, a major sore spot for the city police. A few years after I graduated, the state board of regents decided to "outsource" campus security. They took bids. The city police force put in a bid, and won. So now-a-days, "campus security" and Ames Police Department are one and the same.

    Oddly enough, the married student housing was organized as an unincoroprated town. They had a "Sherrif's Department" of their own (separate from the county Sherrif). Never understood quite how that worked. They were considered law enforcement, like any other police or sherrif's department, whereas campus security was in the realm of a security firm.

    If you observe a crime in your jurisdiction, you can follow the criminal beyond the borders of your jurisdiction if you are in pursuit. Another jurisdiction can temporarilty deputize you - effectively making you policemen in their jurisdiction.

    If a crime occured on campus, the campus police could elect to call the local police for backup, thus deputizing them. But typically they would not (unless they are out numbered, out gunned, etc. - I'm sure in a S.W.A.T. type situation, the campus police would call someone in). Your campus may have a standing agreement with local police, deputizing them on campus property.

    Here's where the splitting hair of law enforcement (police, sherriff, etc.) vs. security lies. If you are a policeman, you are authorized to act as a policeman at all times. If you are off duty, you are still able to act as a policeman. Many a police department requires their off-duty officers to carry a gun. If you are security, you are not authorized to act in a police capacity when off-duty. You are only authorized to perform your police type functions in your jurisdiction (barring pursuit), while you are on-duty. You would have authority over anybody within your jurisdiction - student, non-student, faculty, etc.

    Your campus is most likely state property, but, of course, the state police have jurisdiction there too.

    What are your state laws like? Is your state owned campus considered state property and not part of the city (probably, since you have campus cops)? Does your campus have a standing deputizatoin policy with the local police?

    You know what. If you obey the law, none of this matters anyway.

  • 1 decade ago

    yes they are,,, they are certified police officers by the state... they are required to go to the same academy as your local police and sheriff...

    Campus police patrol the campus and handle issues and violations on campus... they know the lay out and locations of offices and classes. the local police have to deal with the rest of the city. A security officer is only security at a location, they cannot investigate crimes or issue tickes (except parking) or arrest people away from their location... Campus police can do it all

    Most colleges and citiies will allow Campus police a certain amount of jurisdiction off of campus,,, example if a fraternity house is away from campus, the can go there, because it is a school based location,, just like the football stadium

    Yes local city have jurisditcion on campus, but usually are there to help the campus cops, who get first try

    Most of the time when you have several law enforcement agencies, they become deputised within each department,,, example the Sheriff is the top officer in the county, so he will usually give a special deputy license to the city guys,.. that way they can go out of the city limits and handle calls if needed... I was a police officer, and when called I could respond to loctions within 3 miles of the city limits, until a state police officer, or sheriff deputy arrived

    if a person is on campus,,, and is not a student, they still have jurisdiction overthem... it is location not a person... .if you come to the campus, you must obey the campus laws

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    This is a hard story to hear because I am a dog owner. I am also a cop though. Unfortunately it happens very often that while serving a search warrant officers are attacked by the owners dogs. I know in your case your dog wasn't attacking but the officer took the necessary precautions. It is a bad thing to read. You could try going into the police station and speaking to his superiors. If you do decide to take this not go in with an angry and bad attitude because that will get you nowhere. I'm not sure that there is anything that the department will do for you but maybe you will at least get an apology from his chief and the officer himself. In saying all that, I am sorry for the loss of your dog. It is a sad story. The officer did not act professionally in laughing at you afterwards. In the heat of the moment though he saw the dog come running towards him and usually in those cases the dog is in attack mode. The officer should have apologized to you afterwards though. I don't think a law suit would really go anywhere in this case so it might just be a waste of money to get the lawyer. Again, being a dog owner and a cop I understand both sides of the argument. The only thing I didn't like reading was that you would laugh the next time an officer was killed in the line of duty. Not all of us act like unprofessional officers and that's something that hits home when an officer is killed.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sounds to me like you go to WAZOOOOOOOOOO.

    The best answer for that question would be to ask the Pullman Police Department and see what they say about it.

    Asking the WAZOO police will likely NOT get you the correct information, as they would want you to believe that the Pullman Police would come running at their beck and call, which MIGHT be the case, but also might NOT be the case.

    Either way, it is not the best idea to rely upon the answers of anybody in this forum about those items on your list.

    When I was going to UW, I had a student job associated with the UW police force. They were indeed commissioned police officers with every bit as much authority to investigate crimes both on and off of campus as if they were King County Sherrifs's deputies.

    They didn't like ever having to rub elbows with the Seattle Police department, likely because the SPD still treated them as if they were nothing more than a security force, but, every football game day, they would rub elbows and coordinate traffic direction and suck it up.

    During the summer months there wasn't nearly as much need for the size of the department, but all twelve or so officers remained on duty.

    But again, I don't even pretend to know the answers for how they run things in kitty-cat country.

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  • 5 years ago

    campus police force actual police department

  • 1 decade ago

    most all large universities now have their own little police departments.they may also have some that are not officers.they are not called security. they are called campus police.there are too many cinditions for off campus.if the crime originated on campus they they can get search and arrest warrants for off campus just like anyone else.the local police may respond depending on the crime.if they are police then they have the same rights as a city policeman.

    ----retired texas deputy sheriff----

  • 1 decade ago

    I know in CA our campus police officers are full fledged state certified peace officers. I believe they are at most state and major universities.

    If that is the case, then yes, they can investigate crimes that lead them off campus, but would have a memorandum of agreement with the local police allowing them to do it.

    Source(s): CA cop.
  • 1 decade ago

    It sounds like most states are like it is here in NC, or at the least very close.

    In NC, campus police go through the same minimum training as any other law enforcement officer in the state. They have full subject matter jurisdiction on their campus as any other officer. In addition, they have jurisdiction for traffic matters on any streets or highways running through, or adjacent to, their campuses. Most would probably have mutual aid agreements with adjacent jurisdictions that would allow them to receive aid from those departments as well as provide aid themselves.

  • 1 decade ago

    i know at the university i went to, the campus police were commissioned by the county. they had authority both on campus and out anywhere in the county. they would be the first response for anything happening on campus, but if it were a larger matter (mostly fender benders, the occasional 911 call) they would call in back up from the city. and yes, they have jurisdiction over anyone...student or not.

    me and my friends would usually call them if we had to go to the library across campus alone at night. they would give us an escort, so we would be safe... they were cool guys.

  • 1 decade ago

    I went to a state college and the police officers were considered state employees and were fully certified police officers. The job was considered an easy or "gravy" job usually held by older officers who had left other departments. If something bad happened, the local PD was there to help or assist.

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