On September 29, 2021, a confidential University-wide survey is being conducted by University Police and Public Safety to gain a better understanding of student and employee attitudes and opinions related to police services and programs. The results will be used to improve University Police services for all community members. Below are answers to frequently asked questions from our community about the survey.
How can I take the survey? How are participants selected?
A simple random sample of active, current students and employees at Penn State’s larger campuses (Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Harrisburg, and University Park) will be invited to take the survey. All active students and employees at Penn State’s smaller campuses served by University Police and Public Safety (Beaver, Berks, Brandywine, Dickinson Law, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Scranton, Shenango, Wilkes-Barre, and York) will receive an invitation. Current and prior employees of University Police and Public Safety are excluded from the survey.
Why isn’t everyone at Penn State invited to take the survey?
Penn State uses surveys to gather many types of information. Whenever possible, participants are selected at random to decrease the number of different surveys members of our community receive from areas of the University. At smaller locations, it is still sometimes necessary to invite all relevant community members to participate to obtain enough responses to generalize to the larger population.
I want to take the survey, but I cannot find it.
Survey invitations are sent via email (beginning September 29 for the 2021 survey) from the Office of Planning, Assessment and Institutional Research (OPAIR) under the email address [email protected] Please note, surveys must be completed by October 16 in order to be included in the assessment. Check your email, including your spam folders, particularly if you forward your email to an external email client such as Gmail, for your invitation. If you are a current or previous employee of University Police and Public Safety (UPPS), you are not eligible to take the survey. If you are an employee or student at Penn State Hershey or Pennsylvania College of Technology, your location is not served by UPPS and you are not eligible to take the survey. If you are an employee or student at Abington, Altoona, Behrend, Harrisburg, or University Park and cannot find an invitation, you were not selected as part of the random sample of people invited to take the survey. If you are an employee or student at another location served by UPPS and you believe you should have received a survey invitation but cannot locate it, please email [email protected]
Why is this survey being done?
Penn State University Police and Public Safety is conducting a University-wide survey of students and employees to learn more about their attitudes and opinions related to the department’s police division. The survey is being conducted as part of the police department’s accreditation process through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The accreditation seal is for police agencies that have demonstrated compliance with CALEA standards, which includes surveying the agency’s community every two years about the police department’s:
- overall performance;
- overall competency of agency employees;
- citizens’ perception of officers’ attitudes and behavior;
- community concern over safety and security within University Police’s jurisdiction; and
- citizens’ recommendations and suggestions for improvements.
The survey is intended to be used as a platform for organizational learning, asking specific questions about the quality of policing in the community and to measure how policing in that community affects public trust.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a process through which a police agency is evaluated based upon a set of professional standards. Accreditation demonstrates to the community the agency’s commitment to high-quality services and demonstrates that the agency’s policies and procedures are effective, fair, and equitable. The accreditation process positions an agency to comply with professional standards.
Why is University Police going through the accreditation process now?
University Police at University Park was previously accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In 2016, police stations at 22 Penn State campuses, including University Park, centralized into one police agency. Now, the newly centralized department is working toward accreditation with CALEA. Accreditation demonstrates to the community the agency’s commitment to high-quality services and demonstrates that the agency’s policies and procedures are effective, fair, and equitable. The accreditation process also makes certain that staff and police officers are properly trained and shows an agency is in compliance with professional standards. This is the second community-wide survey conducted on behalf of University Police.
What will Penn State do with the survey results?
The findings will be used to improve police services for all community members. University Police will release the aggregated results of the survey in spring 2022.
Who created the survey?
Penn State University Police and Public Safety worked with the Penn State Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research to create the survey.
How were the questions created?
The questions were determined based upon the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) guidelines for the survey.
The questions were designed after reviewing survey instruments from peer institutions and with consideration for local contexts. Penn State’s Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research assisted University Police with shaping the questions. The responses will provide information that is crucial for assessing police services at Penn State.
Please note that some of the questions about police services may be related to a traumatic or upsetting experience for some participants, which may cause discomfort to recall. Those participants may choose not to complete the survey or skip questions within the survey. If a participant is concerned that recalling such experiences may be challenging, they are encouraged to seek assistance from Counseling and Psychological Services (students) or Penn State's Employee Assistance Program (employees).
How long will the survey take to complete?
This survey takes an average of 15 minutes to complete, and University Police appreciates your participation.
Are the responses confidential?
Yes, the responses are confidential, and the survey is voluntary. Participants may skip questions they do not wish to answer. Participants who wish to be contacted by University Police and Public Safety about their experience may choose to provide their contact information, but this information will not be linked to their answers in the reports provided by the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research to University Police and Public Safety. Raw data will be housed in the Office of Planning and Assessment and will not be provided to University Police and Public Safety. All information will be aggregated to a level that protects individual confidentiality.
Where can I find more information about University Police and Public Safety?
To learn more about University Police and Public Safety, visit police.psu.edu and follow @pennstatepolice on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.