Special Events FAQs

Public safety support for special events on the Penn State University Park campus is the responsibility of University Police.

How are event staffing levels determined?

University Police consults with event sponsors and then determines appropriate staffing levels on a case by case basis.

Many factors impact event staffing levels, including, but not limited to:

  • event type,
  • event size,
  • need for traffic control,
  • history of criminal activity,
  • suspected or confirmed alcohol or drug use,
  • potential controversial nature of the event,
  • known risk, and
  • cash sales.

Additionally, University Police requires proper supervision for police department staff at events.

In general, if there are 5-8 police officers assigned to an event, University Police will require a sergeant be assigned to the event. At around 10 police officers, a lieutenant will be required in addition to at least one sergeant/OIC. For larger events, an assistant/deputy chief may be required in addition to proper/additional supervisory/officer coverage. Student employees will follow a similar supervisory model. 

Important Note: Priority will be given to Intercollegiate Athletic events followed by other University-related events. Events for non-University groups will receive consideration after all other events have been assigned support. Busy weekends, such as home-game football weekends, require much of the department’s resources and therefore the department will have less ability to staff other events during those times, regardless of the requesting customer.

Tips for planning events:

- Never sign contracts or permit applications that require University Police staffing without first receiving approval from University Police.

- Events on roadways will require PennDot, University, and/ or political subdivision permission/permits, which are the responsibility of the event requestor.

- The University Police will not close or authorize the closure of roads without proper permits. 

- Make requests of University units (such as EMS) as soon as practical.

- University Police personnel, including police officers and student employees, are for general security, patrol, and law enforcement duties, and will not conduct event management duties.

-  University Police will enforce laws and University regulations at events. If bag checks are part of the security requirement, personnel, other than the University Police, must be identified for that duty.

Important Note: University Police regularly receives more requests for staffing than the department has available therefore the department may not be able to accommodate all event requests.

How do University Police student employees support events?

  • Student employees may perform traffic control duties, limited to traffic light/intersection control. (Student employees do not guard parking lots or limit access to lots).
  • Student employees may also perform patrol; fixed-post guard duty, such as at doors or stairwells; and access control to parts of a building.
  • Student employees CANNOT conduct bag checks or event management duties.
  • Student employees are not police officers; therefore they will not be assigned duties such as guarding money, personal protection, or other duties deemed unreasonably dangerous by University Police management. 

Important Note: University Police student employees are a limited resource who work limited hours.

How to request University Police support for an event?

Requests for staffing should be sent at least 45 days in advance of an event to the Special Events division of the University Police by utilizing the staffing request form: https://police.psu.edu/event-request-form

Why does University Police support need to be requested at least 45 days before an event?

  • An event request should be made at least 45 days in advance to allow University Police to evaluate, plan, and schedule staff members for the event.
  • Short notice of events are subject to increased risk of no staffing. 
  • Requesting event staffing around the time of major University Park events, such as football weekends, also have a high likelihood of not being staffed.
  • Never assume University Police is already aware of your event. Even if the event is annual, always fill out the request form at least 45 days prior to the event.