The Villanova University Department of Public Safety is beginning the second year of its transition to a “hybrid” department, using a combination of police and security officers to keep our campus safe.
The Department Today – By the Numbers
Public Safety continues its transition from an all-security department to a mix of security and police officers.
Total number of employees - 68
Current number of Police Personnel - 16
Police Officers hold a variety of ranks:
- Directory of Public Safety & Chief of Police (1)
- Associate Director of Public Safety (1)
- Assistant Director of Public Safety (1)
- Criminal Investigator (1)
- Police Lieutenant (1)
- Police Sergeant (4)
- Police Training Specialist (1)
- Police Officer (6)
The department is currently screening applicants for two entry-level police officer positions, one vacant sergeant’s position, and one vacant Lieutenant's position.
At the completion of the transition, the department will consist of 20 sworn police officers and 48 non-sworn employees.
Non-sworn employees will include:
- 33 uniformed security officers
- 8 communication officers
- 3 non-sworn investigators
- 3 mid-level managers
- 1 administrative assistant
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Police Officers versus Security Officers – What’s the Difference?
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University police and security officers work as a team and very few duties are exclusive to one group or the other. While police officers have additional authority and carry specialized equipment, both police and security officers respond to many of the same types of calls and assist each other on a regular basis.
Both police officers and security officers are University officials and can enforce University policies. Security officers perform several important functions that enhance the safety of the campus. These include monitoring campus vehicular access at the three campus gates, responding to medical emergencies and handling other general calls for service such as transports and vehicle jump starts.
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How Can I Distinguish a Police Officer from a Security Officer?
Police officers are distinguishable from security officers in several ways.
- Police officers’ patrol cars have “POLICE” along the side. Security officers’ patrol cars have “PUBLIC SAFETY” on the side.
- Police officers and security officers wear different shoulder patches
- Police officers and security officers wear different color shirts. Police officers also have a light blue stripe on the side of their pants.
- Police officers wear body cameras. Body cameras record both video and audio and can be used as evidence in a criminal or campus judicial proceedings. Security officers do not wear body cameras.
- Police officers carry a firearm, baton, pepper spray and handcuffs. Security officers do not carry any of these items.
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Will I get in more trouble if a police officer shows up than if a Public Safety officer shows up?
Villanova police and security officers often work side-by-side to keep the campus safe. How much trouble a person gets into depends on the severity of what has occurred, not who shows up to handle the situation. For example, Villanova police officers routinely handle calls for intoxicated students where the student is not issued an underage drinking citation, but rather is referred to the campus disciplinary system. By contrast, a security officer may initially handle a situation that may later be followed up on by a police officer.
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The Department of Public Safety & Community Outreach
The department continually works to engage the University community to provide information about its mission and services. The department is very active during New Student Orientation, participating in the Parent Resource Fair, and conducting presentations for all incoming students and their parents about campus safety.
This year, the popular “Dinner and Dialogue” series will continue, with sessions already scheduled with Resident Assistants (RAs) and the Student Government Association.
Some of the new initiatives this year, include:
- The department kicked off a ride-along program, where members of the community can ride with a Public Safety Officer during a typical shift.
- The department established a social media presence through a new Twitter account @VuPubSafe.
- “Coffee with the Chief” is a new initiative for staff and faculty in each of the schools and colleges. The purpose is to allow employees to learn about new and ongoing safety initiatives and ask the Chief any questions.
- "Pizza with Public Safety" is a new initiative that will aim to facilitate small group meetings and discussions with residence hall students about the department and its work.