How Campus Officers and Local Law Enforcement Keep College Students Safe

by Ashley Eneriz

Your university is your home, whether you attend part-time or full-time. During the years you spend studying, your professors and classmates become your community and close friends—and the baristas at the on-campus coffee shop learn your coffee order by heart.

You should always feel comfortable in your home. That means feeling protected and secure while you are attending class or walking around your campus.

This is exactly why university police programs and campus officers are essential for keeping students safe and at peace. They work together with local police departments to create a plan of action and then work continuously to prevent crime and respond to incidents, when necessary.

The Relationship Between Campus Officers and Local Police

The goal behind connecting campus officers with local law enforcement personnel is to ensure a united and strengthened approach to campus safety.

“Well-established relationships and agreements with local law enforcement are integral to the success of campus safety departments,” explained Paul Dennis, executive director and chief of campus safety at Azusa Pacific University. Dennis also noted that certain incidents and crimes require a law enforcement response to assist campus safety personnel—while some crimes go beyond the capability and jurisdiction of campus officers—so it’s important the two entities work in tandem.

Strategies for Secure Campuses

The agreement that exists between APU and the Azusa Police Department (APD) includes a University Resources Officer (URO) program, which dedicates an Azusa police officer to work full-time with the university’s Department of Campus Safety. In alignment with National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) standards, which are used in schools across the country, the school-based law enforcement officer promotes a safer campus and safer students.

“The consistent presence of a uniformed police officer on campus is a crime deterrent and provides students, faculty, and staff with a greater sense of security,” said Dennis. In addition, there are many resources offered to students on campus, such as safety escorts during late hours and a Rape Aggression Defense program.

How Does the APU-APD Agreement Keep Students Safe?

A safer campus equates to a safer community. The Azusa Police Department and APU’s Department of Campus Safety are dedicated to keeping students safe by taking proactive actions and immediately responding to incident reports.

Officers strive to be transparent about crimes and situations that may impact campus security. They are also tasked with attending major campus events, co-investigating campus crimes, and responding to in-progress incidents.

When officers aren’t busy tending to these needs on campus, they are often busy planning (and executing) emergency preparedness drills, such as fire/earthquake evacuations and active shooter responses. Additionally, they routinely hold informational meetings and conferences to educate students and community members about safety awareness and crime prevention measures.

Alongside the APD’s involvement, the university’s Department of Campus Safety consists of more than 30 employees who safeguard the university with honor and sensitivity. There are also around 50 student workers who conduct campus patrols as community service representatives (CSRs). “Our officers share an all-encompassing vision that reflects the university motto of God First,” said Dennis.

Student Safety Is the Highest Priority

Between classes and extracurricular activities, you have plenty to focus on during your time on campus. Accordingly, APU has created a learning environment where you can feel secure and thrive.

If need be, you can reach out to the Department of Campus Safety for assistance at any time of day, 365 days a year. Students can anonymously report incidents online using the silent informant form or by phone at (626) 815-3898. There are always officers on duty to respond to calls for service.

Are you interested in learning more about Azusa Pacific University’s commitment to student safety and the resources available on campus? Check out this student’s guide to campus safety. You can also stay up to date on Campus Safety news and resources by following @APUCampusSafety on Instagram and Twitter.