Developing Standards for Campus Security and Safety Officers

Two California campus security directors make the case for uniform U.S. standards. Here's a preview of what they will be presenting at Campus Safety Conference East and West this summer.
Published: May 16, 2016

If Stan Skipworth and Randy Burba had their way, the diverse ranges of required qualifications, standards, and certifications for campus safety officers and campus security officers would be uniform not only across their home state of California, but also across the entire nation. In their view, the opportunity to pursue additional consistency and conformity to a set of standards for persons who serve as campus police officers as well as campus peace officers has seemingly never been greater.

Skipworth and Burba will be presenting Pursuing a Case of Consistency: Developing National and State Standards for Campus Security and Safety Officers at the Campus Safety Conference East in Washington, D.C., July 25-26 and Campus Safety Conference West in Long Beach, Calif.,  Aug. 9-10.

Skipworth is director of campus safety for the Claremont University Consortium, which serves the Claremont Colleges, and is the legislative chair for the California College & University Police Chiefs Association (CCUPCA). A past president of the California Association of Councils of Governments, Skipworth is the former mayor of the City of Corona, Calif., and the police chief emeritus of California State University, Long Beach.

Burba has served in higher education law enforcement for more than 29 years and currently serves as the chief of public safety for Chapman University. As immediate past president of the CCUPCA -for which he also served on the legislative committee – Burba is current president-elect (to be sworn in on June 26th) for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).

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According to Burba, today’s university police departments are expected to protect faculty, staff and students on a 24/7/365 basis, yet many are not equipped to handle this effectively. A small, private college, for example, may only have the resources to staff the department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily – then, community police are called in during the off-hours.

At the other end of the spectrum are the 200-person campus police departments that do all of their own training, evacuation drills, threat assessments and other activities.

“They have the same training, if not more, than the police officers working for the city adjacent to the university,” says Burba. “But is this really appropriate and fair? There should be some minimum standard set of what type of department is required on campus.”

Skipworth concurs and says standards should not only be consistent and statewide, but that they should also apply to “all of our peer institutions throughout the U.S.” That way, when a campus police officer or safety professional decides to move across state lines to a new institution, the same rules, regulations and standards will apply.

“It shouldn’t matter if it’s a public or private institution; everyone should have access to the same resources, statutory remedies and level of police officer support to be able to take immediate action and provide security,” says Skipworth.

RELATED: Public v. Private College Peace Officers-What’s the Difference?

In assessing the current climate, he says that campus leaders recognize the need for national standards and that some states have enacted laws allowing private institutions to create law enforcement agencies.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of momentum right now, with legislative activity in California, in particular, rapidly taking shape,” says Skipworth. “It’s going to take some time, but as the conversations evolve and as we have the opportunity to share the importance of uniform standards, the picture is beginning to come into view.”

The third annual Campus Safety Conferences are education and training events for anyone who has a stake in ensuring the public safety and security of our nation’s schools, universities, and colleges. Taking place in Washington, D.C. July 25-26 and Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 9-10, the conferences provide full-day training workshops, a campus police chief and a K-12 safety panel, dozens of conference sessions, and more than 35 companies showcasing their products, services, and technologies.

To register for the Campus Safety Conferences, visit Stan Skipworth and Randy Burba will be speaking at CSC East, Higher Ed Track, on July 26 and CSC West, Higher Ed Track, on Aug. 10.

Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series