The origins of SUNY Cobleskill's University Police began in 1963 with the establishment of Institutional Safety Officers as a job within the State of New York. Persons passing the Civil Service Test could be hired "at various institutions of the Mental Hygiene and Correction Departments and at the colleges of the State University." Officers were expected to provide "police, fire, and safety protection. They were required to have a high school diploma which could be substituted by business experience or "experience in dealing with the public." The annual starting salary was $4,220.
Over the years many changes occurred. In 1971, a Security Department, separate from Maintenance, was formed. Officers were called "Campus Security Officers" and heavy emphasis was placed on the security of the physical plant. In 1981, the status of the Department changed again, to that of "Public Safety." The theory behind the Public Safety model was to develop a service-oriented organization with law enforcement powers specifically geared to the needs of campus communities.
Officers were required to possess the equivalent of an associate's degree, which at that time, was the highest educational requirement for law enforcement officers in the state. Training consisted of attending the same local police academies established for village and city officers. On January 14, 1997, SUNY Cobleskill's Shared Governance Committee voted and approved a name change to State University Police.
Today, the University Police continues its tradition of service-oriented policing. This Department continues to provide a number of special programs for the campus community, including: Student Safety Initiative, where students patrol the campus from 9pm to 3am daily; Assisting with the administration of a medical response team, where student volunteers provide first aid to members of the campus community; numerous special programs in the residence halls on topics such as date rape, DWI and women's safety issues; sponsorship of safety programs geared to pre-school children in our Child Care Center, as well as conducting a fingerprinting program for these children, creating personal identification cards for their parents' use.
The law enforcement role of the University Police also continues to grow as students, their parents, faculty and staff express increasing interest in questions of campus safety.
Parking and traffic enforcement have also become important aspects of the University Police's function. All members are now certified as radar operators. Their efforts have done much to reduce vehicle speeds on campus in an effort to make our roads safe - not only for vehicles - but for our many pedestrians and joggers as well.
Training for today's University Police Department continues to improve. Prospective officers must still possess the equivalent of an associate's degree. Additionally, they must pass an oral interview and psychological and medical examinations before they are hired.
All Officers attend a Division of Criminal Justice Services, Municipal Police Training Council Certified Police Academy. In addition, several members of the Department are Certified Police Instructors. Additionally, we have a Certified Drug Recognition Expert on staff.