Community Policing

Community Oriented Police Officers at Community Events

Community Policing Philosophy 

All Penn State University Police and Public Safety (UPPS) employees are expected to embody the department’s Community Policing Philosophy daily through their respective roles. This philosophy, based on the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which includes understanding and demonstrating that community policing:  

  • Improves public safety, enhances social connectivity, enhances economic strength, increases community resilience to crime, and increases police job satisfaction. 
  • Involves collaboration and communication between fellow employees in UPPS and employees and students across Penn State, as well as first responder partners, in order to help solve community problems.  
  • Begins with police building relationships and having positive interactions with the community before a crisis occurs so that the community and police trust each other when a crisis does occur.  
  • Means understanding that trust cannot be attained without the community's belief that police place community members’ well-being at the heart of all law enforcement activities. 
  • Means demonstrating to the public that police officers respect community members' rights, and are protectors and promotors of the dignity of all, especially the most vulnerable. 

Community Oriented Policing (COP) Unit 

The UPPS Community Oriented Policing (COP) Unit serves all Penn State campuses and is responsible for managing logistics for day-to-day community policing tasks, such as:  

  • Working with community members to solve identified problems related to quality of life and safety; 
  • Developing and instructing community education programs geared toward crime prevention, safety and victim support; 
  • Planning and organizing events with and for our community members; 
  • Participating in community discussions and meetings; 
  • Monitoring criminal activity through and facilitating proactive plans for crime prevention;
  • Facilitating training for all our police officers that supports building meaningful and trusting relationships with the community; and, 
  • Data tracking and reporting.  

While COP officers manage these tasks and responsibilities day-to-day, these efforts are accomplished with the support of all UPPS employees, because our department recognizes that community policing is everyone's responsibility.  

The COP Unit is led by a COP Coordinator who works with a community policing designated officer at 22 campuses where we provide police services.  

Community Involvement and Services

Request a Community Education Program 

Would you like the COP Unit to lead a community education program for your student organization, class or work unit? It’s easy, just fill out our Community Education Program Request Form

The following programs are offered: 

  • Active Attacker Response Program: An overview of the Run Hide Fight model for response to an active attacker. Learn more.  

  • Alcohol Awareness: An overview of the dangers of excessive and underage drinking and relevant Pennsylvania laws 

  • Domestic Violence Awareness: A review of signs of abuse along with support and resources for victims 

  • Safety and Security for Office Personnel: An overview of safety in the workplace, including guidance to deal with hostile individuals or active threat, along with theft prevention and other personal safety tips 

  • Who We Are and What We Do: An overview of University Police and Public Safety programs and services

  • Drug Awareness: An overview of the different types of commonly used drugs, their effects on the body, and resources available for treatment and support

  • Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention: A discussion of sexual assault prevention as it relates to college students, individual safety and the law. This program explores the importance of communication and consent in relationships, as well as victim resources and support. This program also addresses the problems of stalking and sexual extortion.

  • Scamming and Phishing Safety: An overview of common scams and phishing attempts, which includes tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and resources for victims

  • Virtual Meeting Safety: An overview of resources and tools available to help protect your virtual meetings

  • Pedestrian and Traffic Safety: An overview of laws and University policies related to pedestrians, motorists, bikes, scooters, skateboards and more. Includes safety tips and other important information

  • Introduction to Safety at Penn State: This program is intended for international Penn Staters, including those who speak English as a second language. The program provides an overview of University Police and Public Safety and safety at Penn State.

  • Personal Safety and Awareness: A 75-minute session that introduces key strategies for personal safety, including physical resistance strategies.

Other Services

  • Nighttime Patrol Request: If you are a Penn State employee who works on campus at night, you can request an officer walk through your area while you’re working on campus. This service should not be used for immediate assistance or emergencies, instead call 911. Not available at all campuses; based upon police services available at your campus.

  • Car Seat Safety Check: Multiple Penn State police officers are nationally certified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians and conduct child safety seat inspections and assist with installations. This service may not be available at all campuses; please contact your campus police station for additional information.

Request security or police services for your campus event 

Public safety support for special events is the responsibility of University Police. University Police consults with event sponsors and then determines appropriate staffing levels on a case-by-case basis. 

Request victim services 

Any Penn State student, employee, or visitor who has been the victim of, or witness to, a crime is eligible for victim services. Learn More.  

Request a Facility Security Assessment 

Penn State employees can request a Facility Security Assessment through University Police and Public Safety. There are many other ways that UPPS, through the Office of Physical Security, supports safety for the University. Learn more.