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 1st, 1999, the New York State University Police was established, and the agency now proudly has over 600 members serving our SUNY schools throughout New York State.
Today, the University Police continues its tradition of service-oriented policing. The New York State University Police at SUNY Cobleskill 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; numerous special educational programs in the residence halls on topics such as dating violence, DWI and women's safety issues; sponsorship of safety programs geared to pre-school children in our Child Care Center, including having an officer trained as a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician; presentation of R.A.D. classes to students and staff; and many other programs with the intent to enhance the overall quality of life and safety of our campus community.
The law enforcement role of the New York State University Police also continues to grow as students, their parents, faculty and staff express increasing interest in questions of campus safety. Active Shooter incident preparedness and response training is a high priority. We also regularly test our Emergency Broadcast System in cooperation with our IT Department.
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 requirements for today's New York State University Police Officers continues to grow, and the qualifications to obtain a position within our ranks are stringent. All officers must complete a NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Municipal Police Training Council Certified Police Academy. In addition, many of our officers have specialized training as Certified Police Instructors in many different topics. Additionally, we have a Certified Drug Recognition Expert on staff. We also have specialized units included a K9 unit and a mounted patrol.