National Center for Campus Public Safety

Policing Off-Campus Communities at Institutions of Higher Education

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College and university campuses are more than just places people go to learn. They are integral parts of their local communities, and they employ and serve populations that extend far beyond the student body. Many institutions of higher education (IHEs) embrace this role, and they spend substantial amounts of time, money, and effort giving back to the communities that surround them. For many IHEs, that contribution includes collaboration with local communities and law enforcement agencies around safety and security.

The National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS) facilitated an emerging issues forum on October 22, 2015 with 18 campus public safety executives from 13 IHEs. The forum convened as part of the NCCPS’s role to be a nationwide resource for addressing critical issues in campus safety. The purpose of the forum was to identify best practices in sharing campus law enforcement responsibilities with local partners and establishing and maintaining positive, supportive, and effective relationships with off-campus communities. Throughout the day’s discussions, a series of core principles emerged:

  • IHEs must do more to help local agencies understand the roles, responsibilities, and needs of their campus law enforcement agencies.
  • IHEs and local agencies must work together more to share crime information for the purpose of complying with the Clery Act and Title IX.
  • Campus and local law enforcement authorities that physically work together and formalize their expectations of each other are better positioned to meet overall campus and community expectations.

Facilitated discussions during the forum identified the most pressing coordination challenges local and campus law enforcement agencies face and participants generated recommendations regarding best practices to address those challenges.

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