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The concept of University policing is relatively new in the history of policing overall. Most university police departments were established in the 1960s and 1970s when student unrest caused university administrators and state legislators to realize that the need for better safety on campus called for a move away from campus security guards to armed police officers. University police departments by definition face unique challenges because their officers must balance the need to ensure the safety of those on campus, while not infringing on the educational mission of the university.(1)

Bike and Car accident
Group of Officers

Unlike comparable sized municipal police agencies which tend to be reactive, University officers are proactive and masters of Community Oriented Policing. They apply the Community Oriented Policing philosophy and believe that proactively creating partnerships with the campus community is the best way to resolve existing or developing public safety issues such as crime, the fear of crime, and social disorder. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Police Officers interact with students, faculty, and staff throughout the University on a daily basis and by doing so have broken the down stigma that police are only present when a crime has occurred.

University Police officers must also be reactive as well, responding to various calls for service which are both typical of modern police work as well as those unique to a University setting. Just like their law enforcement peers, all University of Wisconsin police officers are subject to the Wisconsin Department of Justice training and standards requirements. This means every officer that works as a University Police Officer has met all the required qualifications and is trained to the same high standard as a municipal police officer or county deputy. Officers with The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay routinely surpass both the yearly training and educational requirements set forth by the State with the majority of our officers having a Bachelors Degree or higher.

Officers training outdoors
Campus ariel view

University Police is very unique. Many of today‚Äôs college campuses rival the population of small and mid-size cities, but all campuses, regardless of size, are susceptible to the same law enforcement challenges faced by a municipal police department. The world was made shockingly aware of this on April 16, 2007, when one lone psychologically disturbed student killed 32 and seriously wounded 23 others on the campus of Virginia Tech.(1) Nine years later an attacker on Ohio State University using a vehicle and edged weapon served as a tragic reminder of the persistent threat posed to University security.

However, unlike small or mid-sized cities the population of Universities are comprised primarily of individuals between 18 and 24 years old. This presents a unique challenge requiring officers to specialize in crimes that are typically committed against or by offenders in this age group. These college aged crimes range broadly; from underage alcohol violation and drugs use, to sexual assaults and crimes against persons. University Officers must also be able to handle individuals who are affected by a variety of mental health issues which often are undiagnosed or developing in this age range such as depression, anxiety, Schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder.

Activism is alive and well on modern college campus' and gatherings of large groups is not uncommon. The topic prompting these gatherings can range from local to national issues, often with representation from groups with opposing views.  Universities often serve as a host location for political campaign events of all sizes, including those attended by the President of the United States of America which can present many unforeseen threats. University Police are tasked with this unique challenge of allowing both the free speech and activism expected on campus; but also maintaining the University in a safe and operational status capable of fulfilling its academic mission.

Students join protest

Universities also have a proud tradition of engaging in collegiate sporting events. These contents can be major events requiring intensive police preparation and manpower. Universites often have greater attendance and stadium capacities than nearby professional sports teams. For example, The University of Wisconsin's Camp Randal Stadium has a capacity of 80,321 which can be compared to Lambeau Field(NFL: Green Bay Packers) of 81,441 or Miller Park(MLB: Milwaukee Brewers) at 41,900. Ensuring the security of the a Badger home game at Camp Randal Stadium requires assistance from all University of Wisconsin officers, regardless of their home campus, as well as various agencies from within Dane County.

President Donald Trump Visit, March 2016
(President Donald Trump Visit, March 2016)
Group of uniformed officers
(Sen. Bernie Sanders Visit, April 2016)
Officer working football game
(Officers working Camp Randall Stadium)
One of the major points of concern for modern Universities is the response to active killers, often referred to as "Active Shooters". Any location that has a large gathering of people is a prime location for an attack and as noted earlier and Universities are not immune to this threat. University Police train for such incidents as well as put on training for our campus community strongly advocating the Run, Hide, Fight response system. In addition to this, UW-Green Bay Police are proud to be training partners with brown county law enforcement (Green Bay Police, Brown County Sheriff, Ashwaubenon Public Safety, De Pere Police, Hobart Lawrence Police, Pulaski Police, Wrightstown Police, etc) which allows for cross training along side our peers. In the event of an emergency, this cross training allows officers from various agencies to operate in a single cohesive manner. This active law enforcement partnership in northeast Wisconsin is atypical in modern policing, but should should serve as model to others.

Female police officer holding gun


University Police In the Media:

For more information on these incident, click on the image below to take you to the related video or article.  

collage of suspects
Brown County Chase
Police officers in full gear
Video still of map
Winter car accident
Bernie Sanders rally