Various pictures of police officers with community members

Community Policing

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 Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing and Community Policing training from the PoliceOne Academy, 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. 
  • Community policing involves collaboration and communication with fellow employees in UPPS as well as employees and students across Penn State in order to help solve community problems.  
  • Community policing begins with police interacting with community members unrelated to criminal matters 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.  
  • Community policing 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. 
  • Community policing means demonstrating to the public that police officers are allies with community members, guardians of human rights, and protectors and promotors of the dignity of all, especially the most vulnerable. 

This philosophy is also demonstrated through UPPS policies, such as our Procedural Justice policy

Community Oriented Policing (COP) Unit 

The Community Policing Philosophy describes the characteristics that all our employees should exemplify. Additionally the UPPS Community Oriented Policing (COP) Unit serves all Penn State campuses where UPPS provides police services. The COP Unit is responsible for managing logistics for day-to-day community policing tasks, such as:  

  • Facilitating training for all our police officers that supports building meaningful and trusting relationships with the community; 
  • 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; 
  • Working with community members to solve identified problems related to quality of life and safety; 
  • Monitoring criminal activity through and facilitating proactive plans for crime prevention; and 
  • Data tracking and reporting.  

While the COP Unit manages these tasks and responsibilities day-to-day, it is done with the support of all police officers within UPPS because community policing is the responsibility of us all.  

The goals of the COP Unit include:  

  • Actively building and maintaining long-term, meaningful relationships and collaborative partnerships with members of the community.  
  • Working with community partners to identify, respond to and solve problems related to the community’s concerns and needs surrounding quality of life and public safety.  
  • Actively educating the community regarding public safety awareness and crime prevention in order to support a safe community for all. 

Under the direction of the UPPS Public Information Office, the COP Unit is led by a COP Coordinator who works with a community policing designated officer at 22 campues where we provide police services.  

COP Coordinator

Officer Michelle Beckenbaugh 

Community Involvement and Services

Request a community partnership 

Would you like University Police and Public Safety to partner with you for a program, event, project or initiative? Send an email to COP Coordinator Michelle Beckenbaugh.  

Request assistance to solve a community problem 

Do you have a need or concern related to quality of life or safety on your campus? University Police and Public Safety can work with you to find a solution. Send an email to COP Coordinator Michelle Beckenbaugh. For emergencies or for safety matters that require an immediate response, call 911. 

Request security or police services for your campus event 

Public safety support for special events on the Penn State University Park campus 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 an officer walk through your assigned work area at night 

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. Instead, call 911. This service should not be used for emergencies, instead call 911.  

To request an officer to patrol your work area, submit the Community Education Program Request Form and choose “Nighttime Patrol Request”.

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.  

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 an active attacker, 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: With a focus on prevention, this program reviews sexual assault as it relates to Pennsylvania laws, the importance of consent, and resources and support for victims. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.