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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 18
    PUBLICATION YEAR 2015
    View PDF Version*

    Document Title
    Final Report on Potential Minimum Core Operational Functions for Campus Police and Security Departments

    Author
    Department of Criminal Justice Services

    Enabling Authority
    Chapter 278 Enactment Clause 1. (Regular Session, 2014)

    Executive Summary
    The 2014 General Assembly directed the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to study potential minimum core operational functions for campus police and security departments, to include determining the existing capacity of these departments, the costs of bringing existing departments into compliance with such functions, and legislative amendments needed to require compliance by such departments. DCJS provided the Governor and the General Assembly with an Interim Report in November, 2014. This is the final report.

    DCJS conducted the study by doing the following:

    • Established a Study Advisory Committee of members from the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA) and other state and local officials;

    • Identified preliminary core operational functions using professional organizational standards from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS);

    • Surveyed 67 Virginia institutions of higher education to identify operational functions now being conducted by college and university campus police departments (hereafter called “sworn” departments) and security departments (hereafter called “nonsworn” departments), assess how effectively these functions are being conducted, identify obstacles to conducting these functions, and solicit other comments on potential core functions;

    • Developed a list of recommended potential minimum core operational functions for sworn and nonsworn campus departments, identified issues to examine concerning the appropriateness of these functions; and

    • Examined information on potential costs of complying with such potential minimum core operational functions, and on legislative amendments needed to require compliance with such functions.

    Study Findings and Recommendations

    Potential Minimum Core Operational Functions and Existing Capacity

    The major finding of this study is that there is great variation in the size, responsibilities, activities, and resources of college and university sworn police and nonsworn security departments throughout Virginia. The findings indicate that a “one-size fits all” approach to determining minimum core operational functions for these departments will not work. Such an approach would simplify defining such minimum core operational functions, but the complexity of actually implementing these functions across the range of Virginia’s campuses will require an approach that addresses the different sizes, types, needs and resources of these many different departments.

    Virginia’s largest public universities (such as Virginia Tech or Virginia Commonwealth University) are virtually small cities. They can serve 30,000 students, and contain extensive residential housing, dining, civic, athletic, research and other facilities. They can have fully functional 24/7 sworn police departments employing several hundred personnel. On the other hand, many of Virginia’s smaller community colleges and private colleges may consist of only a few administrative and classroom buildings and employ nonsworn security staff consisting of, as one institution stated, “one man with a radio.” Most of Virginia’s many colleges and universities fall somewhere between these two extremes.

    While recognizing that a “one-size-fits-all” approach for all campuses is unsuitable, DCJS and the Study Advisory Group also recognized that – given the basic mission of campus police and security departments - there are certain minimum core operational functions that virtually all of these departments should be capable of accomplishing. To address both of these requirements, this report presents a list of recommended potential minimum core operational functions for all (with limited exceptions) such departments, with the important caveat that each department should be given the latitude to accomplish these functions in a manner suitable for the size, type, needs and resources of the department and of the campus it serves.

    Recommendation 1:

    Based on a review of current national campus professional organizational standards, the findings of the survey of current Virginia campus police and security department capacities and activities, and the Study Advisory Group’s input, the following are recommended as potential minimum core operational functions for sworn police and nonsworn security departments at Virginia institutions of higher education:

    Recommended Potential Minimum Core Operational Functions For Sworn Police and Nonsworn Security Departments At Virginia Institutions of Higher Education

    The Prevention and Detection of Crime:

    Patrol operations
    Crime prevention and community involvement
    Criminal investigative services
    Public information/outreach
    Traffic management/enforcement
    Special event and crowd management

    The Apprehension of Criminals:

    Arrest adults/juveniles
    Temporary detention and processing adults/juveniles
    Detainee transportation adults/juveniles

    The Safeguard of Life and Property:

    Physical security/access control/surveillance systems
    Critical incidents, special operations, homeland security management
    Motorist assistance and student safety escorts
    Victim/witness assistance

    The Administration of Police and Security:

    Organization and administration (mission, structure, general orders, etc.)
    Roles and authority
    Personnel administration (classification, compensation, evaluations, etc.)
    Jurisdiction and mutual aid agreements
    Emergency communications/dispatch/call taking
    Records management and report distribution
    Clery and Title IX compliance
    Training DCJS standards
    Internal affairs/disciplinary procedures
    Recruitment and hiring
    Evidence collection, storage and control
    Fiscal management
    Equipment/weapons/vehicle management/storage/control

    As noted above, such core minimum operational functions should apply to virtually all sworn and nonsworn departments, whether they serve a large university campus or a small community college. However, these different types of departments should have the latitude to conduct these functions based on the type of campus they serve and the mission and resources they are assigned. For example, all campus police and security departments should have the capacity to respond to a situation in which an individual is threatening a student with immediate bodily harm. A campus with a police department might dispatch a sworn police officer who would apprehend the threatening individual, place him under arrest, charge and book him, and detain him for further processing. In the same situation, a campus with a security department might dispatch a non-sworn security officer and contact the local police to simultaneously respond and address the situation. The non-sworn officer would attempt to de-escalate the situation until law enforcement staff arrives. The local sworn law enforcement agency would then formally arrest, charge and further process the individual. Both departments have performed the operational function of preserving the safety of persons on the campus, but they have performed it in different ways. The proposed potential core minimum operational functions would define what functions a campus police or security department should be able to accomplish, but they would not specifically define how they should perform the functions.

    This study has produced a list of potential core minimum operational functions. Translating this list of potential operational functions into recommended actual operational functions should be done with due consideration of the different ways such functions might be conducted at different types of campus departments. This should be done with further extensive and thoughtful input from the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the DCJS Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, and college and university administrators representing a cross-section of Virginia institutions of higher learning (see Recommendation 3).

    Costs of Bringing Existing Departments into Compliance

    DCJS’ review of research on the costs of operating a police/security department found that there are no fixed guidelines for determining these costs, whether for a campus or a public municipality police department. Furthermore, there are no fixed guidelines for determining costs for such departments to perform specific common police functions and activities such as criminal investigative services or transporting adult/juvenile detainees.

    DCJS developed a range of potential cost estimates for campus police departments based on two sources. First, using U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates of annual operating costs for municipal (not campus) police departments, the annual operational cost for a police department serving a campus with 30,000 students could be about $7.4 million. Using the same Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates, annual operational costs for a department serving a campus of 2,500 students could be about $600,300, and for a campus serving 700 students about $166,000.

    Second, one large public university in Virginia with a student population of about 30,000 reported an annual police department operating budget of about $8 million, with about 73% of this for personnel costs. This institution has a fully accredited police department providing 24/7 services. Two Virginia community colleges with fully accredited police departments and student populations of about 10,000 reported annual operating budgets of $1 million to $1.7 million, with about 70% to 90% of this for personnel costs.

    The cost estimates above are presented as potential cost ranges. Actual costs would depend upon what minimum core operational functions were adopted, and would vary considerably based on the characteristics of the institution being served.

    Recommendation 2:

    This report provides broad estimates of the potential costs associated with operating police departments serving campuses of different sizes. There are no firm guidelines for determining such costs, for either campus or municipal police department, nor are there firm guidelines for determining costs to perform specific police operational functions. The cost estimates provided in this report are intended only to help guide more detailed identification of such costs.

    The identification of actual costs to comply with campus sworn police and nonsworn security department minimum core operational functions should be developed with extensive and thoughtful input from the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and college and university administrators representing a cross-section of Virginia institutions of higher education. The impact of these costs should be considered with regard to the different sizes, types, needs and resources of these departments and of the campuses they serve.

    The identification of actual costs to comply with campus sworn police and nonsworn security department minimum core operational functions should be developed with extensive and thoughtful input from the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and college and university administrators representing a cross-section of Virginia institutions of higher education. The impact of these costs should be considered with regard to the different sizes, types, needs and resources of these departments and of the campuses they serve.

    Legislative amendments needed to require compliance by such departments

    Recommendation 3:

    Any legislative amendments needed for campus sworn police and nonsworn security departments to achieve compliance with minimum core operation functions should be developed only after the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, the DCJS Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, and college and university administrators have had the opportunity to identify the appropriate core minimum operational functions and their associated costs.

    Therefore, it is recommended that the General Assembly defer proposing any legislative action to mandate minimum core operational functions for these departments until the 2017 session. The Study Advisory Group believes that during CY 2016 the Virginia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and other stakeholders will be able to develop thoughtful recommendations for the 2017 General Assembly to consider.

    Recommendation 4:

    If the General Assembly proposes legislation to establish core minimum operational functions for campus sworn police departments, it may also wish to consider addressing the following associated issues: 1) whether establishing such functions will have implications for other types of Virginia sworn police departments serving cities, counties or towns, and 2) whether current Code sections concerning sworn police departments, which currently are scattered among different Code chapters and sections, should be consolidated into a single Code section.