5 Ways Campus Police Officers and Traditional Police Officers Differ

Campus police and traditional police have a lot in common, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same.

5 Ways Campus Police Officers and Traditional Police Officers Differ

It’s a question the average person would probably struggle with: What’s the difference between campus police officers and a traditional police officer?

The reality is that although many campus police are former city, county or some other type of traditional law enforcement officers, the roles that both types of police play in their respective communities vary greatly. In turn, their training, responsibilities and mindsets are often at odds.

Campus security officers have a long list of roles when it comes to their job. They must be skilled at or at least have a good understanding of things like verbal de-escalation, emergency preparedness, active shooter response, customer service, community policing, Clery Act, HIPAA, first aid, and more. The public’s expectations of these officers are constantly changing and expanding as well.

Let’s not forget that these officers are responsible for some of our most precious and vulnerable individuals: children and patients.

Campus Safety created this list of five ways campus police officers and traditional offices are different:

  1. Campus Police Focus on Community Policing
  2. Campus Police Have Different Disciplinary Options
  3. Campus Police Focus on Prevention
  4. Campus Police Must Work Well with Children, Patients or Young Adults
  5. Campus Police Undergo Different Training

We know this list doesn’t cover everything, so if you have other ways the two types of officers differ we encourage you to send us them or leave a comment. Enjoy!

Here are the five largest differences

This article originally ran in 2015. 

About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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