What Is The Difference Between Campus Police Officers And Actual Police Officers?

Oct 30, 18 by Jorian Goes

What Is The Difference Between Campus Police Officers And Actual Police Officers?

Campus Vs. Local Police Officers

Traditional police and campus police have a lot in common. However, this does not mean that they are equal or the same. The way people interact with campus police officers is different from how they interact with traditional police officers. Some people see campus police officers as just another group of security guards, while other people do not see the difference between an actual police officer and a campus police officer. Both of these opinions are flawed.

The reality on the ground is that though a majority of the campus police officers are former police officers, the roles that the two types of police play in their communities vary significantly. Due to this fact, their training, mindsets, and responsibilities are usually at odds. In this article, we will look at the differences between actual police officers and campus police officers.

Campus Police Officers Undergo a Different Kind of Training

Though training procedures will differ from one training school to the other, or from one state to another state, it is imperative to note that campus police training does not concentrate on some types of policing like traffic stops.

Campus police training puts an emphasis on sensitivity and cultural diversity more than traditional police training.

Campus police officers that are unarmed or unsworn, they get more training on the use of non-lethal forces and different de-escalation techniques. Other kinds of training given to campus police officers are not normally provided to the traditional police officers, for example, FERPA, HIPAA, Title IX, and Clery compliance.

Campus Police Officers Concentrate on Community Policing

Though a majority of traditional law enforcement agencies use community policing to a particular extent, campus police department take this type of policing to another level. Looking for teachable moments and developing relationships with members of the community is the most important aspect of the job for the campus police officers. Getting familiar with the students and campus staff gives the campus police a sharp sense of security and awareness within their tight-knit communities.

Campus Police Officers Have Several Disciplinary Alternatives

In a majority of cases, the campus police officers can decide whether to arrest the individual or refer them to the university’s dean of students. The role of the campus police is not just law enforcement; they are also in charge of guidance- helping the students to make good decisions instead of just locking up everyone.

Campus Police Officers Focus on Prevention

The goal of a campus police officer is not to either make hundreds of arrests in a week or write volumes of police reports. The main duty of a campus police officer is to engage with students, crime prevention, giving out presentations in the lecture halls, and doing sites’ assessments and surveys on campus grounds. They aim to eliminate or reduce crime, and not just to sit back and wait to catch the students engaging in illegal activities.

Campus Police Officers Must Work Well With Students and Other Campus Staff

Campus police officers must have people skills, and be excellent communicators. It is all about stopping problems from coming up and talking to the students. There is a big number of police officers, especially traditional police officers who do not have it in their nature to friendly interact with other people that are not police officers without escalating the situation. Additionally, in campus, a degree of patience and understanding is usually required when dealing with students to de-escalate any tense situation. The campus police need to be respectful and polite when dealing with students so that issues can be resolved amicably.

Do Campus Police Have The Authority To Use Deadly Force?

Well, this will depend on whether the university is private or public, along with the state laws where the campus is located. Typically, public universities are permitted to hire sworn police officers, and the state laws define the scope of the officer’s powers. For instance, in the state of California, public university police can make arrests 24 hours in a day, while campus police officers from private universities can only do so when they are officially on duty.

In the state of Alabama, campus police officers from a public university have an authority that extends to any part of the state. Nonetheless, the police officer’s use of his authority must be connected to law-enforcement on the campus where he/she is employed. The law in Alabama also particularly permit specific private universities to hire campus police officers. These police officers are charged with the duties and have the powers of police officers with a few restrictions.

In other states like Virginia, both private and public universities have their own sworn campus police officers, with the same or similar powers as those of actual police officers. However, some campus police officers are limited in their powers. This is particularly true when a school contracts a private security firm to provide campus security. Such security officers can be likened to mall cops. They may be armed, but their powers are limited. They can only detain a suspect until an actual police officer responds.