Campus police enforce the national, state, and local laws on the grounds of college campuses. These peace officers provide a variety of security and enforcement services including traffic enforcement, event security and arrests. Most campus police officers are employees of the university but possess equivalent powers as those of local or state law enforcement organizations. Campus police who work at state public institutions may be commissioned as state police officers.
While campus police have a limited jurisdiction, most of these officers have similar qualifications and training as local commissioned officers. They often attend the same police academies and cooperate closely with local police to conduct operations. Protecting a large population of young students presents unique challenges that influence the operations and decisions of campus police. Campus police are usually armed with firearms and employ much of the same equipment and non-lethal weapons as other police organizations.
In the aftermath of several high profile shootings at schools in recent years, campus police have adopted new technologies designed to heighten security. This includes the use of campus alerts to the mobile devices of students in case of an emergency or violent episode.
Campus Police Job Description
Campus police jobs involve taking on the following responsibilities:
- Enforcing local, state, and national laws as well as school regulations
- Monitoring the activities of suspicious intruders
- Detain and arrest individuals suspected of criminal activity
- Patrol the grounds of the school
- Respond to public disruptions
- Maintain the peace during sporting events, conferences and demonstrations
- Hand out traffic and parking tickets
How to Become a Campus Police Officer
While the exact steps in how to become a campus police officer may differ from school to school, the majority of organizations typically use the same hiring standards and training programs as local police departments. Candidates seeking a position with campus police should prepare themselves for a physically and academically challenging selection process. Some police organizations may only require a high school diploma while others expect applicants to possess a degree from a post-secondary educational institution.
Schools in urban environments may require their applicants to meet the physical standards of local police. These are often evaluated through long distance runs, sprints, obstacle courses or exercise sets. Campus police officers will often encounter violent situations and physical strength, stamina and agility are required to effectively neutralize them.
Once hired, new recruits must complete the basic training program at a state certified police academy. These programs may last up to six months and are demanding physically and academically. In some states graduates may then receive commissions granting them authority state wide, especially if they are serving at a public, state-owned school. In other states, campus police may share jurisdictions with local police.
Campus Police Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers working on college campuses earned an average salary of $60,120 as of May 2021. Those working for junior colleges earned about $54,810 during this time.
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022.