SY32 Police and Security Programs
Subject Matter Expert:
Policy Steward:Chief of University Police and Public Safety >
- Establishment of University-wide Policies, Procedures and Guidelines
- Appropriate Security and Police Programs
- Job Descriptions of Security Officers and Police Officers
- Exercise of Police Authority and Appointment of Police Officers
- Police Officer Employment Process
- Police Officer Employment Background Investigations
- Certification of Police Officers by the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission
- Arming of University Police and Public Safety Officers
- Campuses Employing Armed Officers
- Penn State Locations Not Employing Police Officers
- Use of Private Security Personnel
- Serious Misconduct and Suspected Criminal Behavior by Police and Security Officers
- Audits of Security and Police Programs
- Further Information
To standardize staffing levels, functions, position descriptions, operating policies, procedures, employee training, and related subjects at all Penn State locations; to insure the employment of competent professional personnel to carry out security and police programs at all locations; and to set forth standards and requirements relating to the arming of police officers.
Section 2416.1 of the Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P.S. § 646.1), Campus police powers and duties; Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Act (53 Pa.C.S. § 2162-2171).
Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety as used in this policy is responsible for all police, security and public safety related initiatives at all Penn State campuses (hereafter referred to as the Assistant Vice President).
Director of Campus Police and Security Programs as used in this policy is responsible for the oversight of all police, security and contract security programs at all Penn State campuses with the exception of University Park (hereafter referred to as the Director of Campus Police).
Director of University Police as used in this policy is responsible for the supervision and oversight for the University Park University Police operation (hereafter referred to as the Director of University Police).
Police officer as used in this policy includes all employees, regardless of job title, who have been certified by the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission to exercise police powers and who are authorized by the University to exercise such powers.
Security officer as used in this policy includes all employees, other than police officers, who are employed primarily for the purposes of protecting persons and property on the campus through inspection and patrol to detect safety and security hazards, and enforcing University rules and regulations. Security officers are not empowered to perform law enforcement duties.
The establishment of University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines for security and police programs shall be the responsibility of the Assistant Vice President. Local conditions and local criminal justice policies may dictate some variance from established University-wide policies or procedures and may be authorized by the Director of University Police or the Director of Campus Police at non-University Park locations.
The type of program employed to meet security needs varies based upon individual campus characteristics and local conditions. The type of program at a campus will generally be dictated by an assessment of local needs and established University guidelines. Campuses with residence halls are expected to employ police and/or security officers and to provide 24-hours a day security coverage when students are in residence.
The Assistant Vice President shall review and approve all job descriptions and position requirements for security officers and police officers.
The University has the authority under the provisions of Section 2416.1of the Administrative Code of 1929 to appoint campus police officers who may exercise the same powers and authority as municipal officers in the Commonwealth. A decision to employ police officers who have the authority and obligation to enforce laws and carry out other police duties involves the acceptance of special responsibilities for management of the police function. Law enforcement is a governmental responsibility that the institution undertakes on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. Any Penn State location may appoint police officers subject to the program guidelines set forth above after consultation with the Director of Campus Police.
The Assistant Vice President will establish a standard hiring process for all campuses employing police officers. At the University Park campus, the hiring of police officers will be the responsibility of the Director of University Police. The Director of Campus Police will be responsible for the hiring of all police officers at non-University Park locations. No police officer will be appointed without the concurrence of the Assistant Vice President.
The Director of University Police shall establish minimum starting salaries for police officers at the University Park campus; the Director of Campus Police shall establish minimum starting salaries at non-University Park locations. All starting salaries will be coordinated with the Office of Human Resources.
Procedures for conducting pre-employment background investigations for police officers shall be established by the Assistant Vice President. No person shall be offered employment as a police officer with the University prior to the completion of a thorough background investigation. All pre-employment background investigations on police officer applicants shall be submitted to the Director of University Police at the University Park campus, and the Director of Campus Police for all other non-University Park locations, for review and approval prior to an offer of employment.
CERTIFICATION OF POLICE OFFICERS BY THE MUNICIPAL POLICE OFFICERS EDUCATION AND TRAINING COMMISSION:
A designated point of contact at University Park shall be the liaison between the University and the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission (MPOETC). All applications for certification of police officers and other certification related actions from non-University Park locations shall be submitted to the MPOETC through the Director of Campus Police and forwarded to the MPOETC by the designated point of contact.
Police officers at any non-University Park location will be armed only with the approval of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses upon recommendation by the campus Chancellor, based upon an assessment of existing local conditions and with the concurrence of the Director of Campus Police and the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer. Unsworn officers employed by the University shall be issued firearms based on a demonstrated need, typically associated with external requirements. Unsworn officers who are armed must maintain certification and training required by PA Lethal Weapons Training Act 235 along with training requirements established by the University Police. The Assistant Vice President will review and approve any requests before unsworn officers may be armed.
Only police officers approved by the Director of University Police at the University Park campus, or the Director of Campus Police at non-University Park locations shall be permitted to carry firearms. The Assistant Vice President shall establish all firearms training, and firearms qualification standards and arming of unsworn officers. All firearms training must be conducted by police officers who are qualified firearms instructors and who have been approved by either the Director of University Police for University Park and the Director of Campus Police for non-University Park locations.
All firearms and ammunition magazines will be purchased and issued by the University Police at University Park. No ammunition, gun belts, ammunition cases, or holsters shall be used by armed police officers except that equipment specifically authorized by the Assistant Vice President.
No part-time employees shall be issued firearms unless they meet the same employment qualifications as those full-time officers who are authorized to carry firearms. At non-University Park locations, these part-time employees must be approved to carry firearms by the Director of Campus Police. At the University Park campus part-time officers must be approved to carry firearms by the Director of University Police. All part-time police officers regardless of campus affiliation must meet all of the firearms training and qualification requirements as full-time officers.
At Penn State locations which do not provide police services, effective security programs must be established. The Director of Campus Police will provide support and guidance to these locations in the development and implementation of security programs. The Director of Campus Police will establish minimum standards for such programs. Effective security programs may require the employment of security officers. The Director of Campus Police, in concert with the Office of Human Resources, will establish minimum qualifications and hiring procedures for security personnel.
Private security contractors may be used to provide security personnel services at any Penn State location. Any agreements or contracts to provide private security personnel must be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Vice President or his/her designee. Any use of armed private security personnel to meet a short term security need must be approved by the Assistant Vice President. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to the use of properly licensed and bonded armored car services which are employed solely to provide the transportation of money to and from the campus.
Whenever police or security personnel at any Penn State location are suspected or accused of serious misconduct or criminal activity, the following procedures shall be followed. For allegations involving police or security officers at the University Park campus, the Director of University Police shall be notified. For allegations involving police or security officers at any other Penn State campus, the Director of Campus Police shall be notified. The Director of University Police or Director of Campus Police, with the concurrence of the Assistant Vice President, shall determine what investigation will be undertaken by the University and who shall conduct the investigation into the matter.
The Assistant Vice President shall direct that periodic audits be conducted at all Penn State locations to insure that established standards, guidelines and policies are being followed. The report of findings of such audits shall be made to the campus Chancellor, the Assistant Vice President, the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses and the Executive Vice President and Provost.
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for University Police & Public Safety.
Most recent changes:
- June 8, 2023 - Updated policy steward and subject matter expert.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- December 1, 2014 - The ARMING OF POLICE OFFICERS section renamed "ARMING OF UNIVERSITY POLICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS"; CAMPUSES EMPLOYING ARMED POLICE OFFICERS renamed CAMPUSES EMPLOYING ARMED OFFICERS. The appropriate changes have been made to verbiage in these sections to reflect current operations.
- June 20, 2014 - Significant changes made to the policy, updated to reflect current operations. Additions made to the DEFINITION section; title and verbiage changes made throughout the rest of the document to clarify responsibilities and process. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
- August 22, 2006 - Job titles updated in Arming of Police Officer and Audits of Security and Police Program sections.
- December 16, 2002 - New policy.