University of Northern Iowa

Department of Public Safety

Police Division - Units

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Vehicle Patrol | Bike Patrol | Foot Patrol | Student Patrol | Communication Center | Investigations

The Department of Public Safety offers a full range of public safety services to the students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the university. Police officers patrol on foot, bicycle and motor vehicle 24 hours a day. Student Patrol assists officers by providing non-technical services, such as building security, deterrence patrol, vehicle escort program, theft prevention, and by assisting at a variety of university events.

Vehicle Patrol

Patrol vehicles utilized are Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors and Chevy Tahoes. A command vehicle is designated to work as an ad-hoc command center in the initial response to emergency situations. The university operates an on-campus emergency communications center including internal and external communications system, with radio communications over two separate 800mhz Trunked LMR systems, mobile-to-mobile radio patching system, VHF mutual aid and PBX systems.

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Bike Patrol

The Public Safety department established the bike patrol as part of the commitment to community-based policing. The bike unit went into operation in 1994 and was the first law enforcement agency in the metro area to establish a bike patrol unit. Bike patrol officers are International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA)-certified. The program has evolved into a popular and successful patrol innovation for both UNI police officers and the university community.

The bike unit often deploys to provide a public safety presence in large university sponsored events where the ability to move quickly through crowds is needed. Bikes have also been valuable in patrolling the pedestrian UNI central campus and in university housing. The flexibility of the bike patrol unit makes for a beneficial addition to UNI DPS. The bike unit has resulted in more personal contact between UNI police officers and the university community. The Bike Unit has also been active in supporting Sole Power, an university-wide program to encourage non-motorized transport around UNI's campus.

The Bike Unit is authorized two trained officers assigned to each shift, allowing 24 hours of bike coverage on campus as staffing allows. UNI police officers have joined the Cedar Falls police in patrolling the College Hill neighborhood by bike, particularly in the early evening hours.

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Foot Patrol

The patrol division includes three shift lieutenants and twelve assigned officers, who patrol and respond to emergencies on campus and adjoining areas around the clock.

Officers are well trained and qualified to address issues in the university community. All police officers attend the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy at Camp Dodge, a thirteen week course of instruction that includes legal and functional skills required of all law enforcement officers in Iowa. In addition, police officers receive a minimum of twelve hours of continuing education each year and the department sponsors many unique classes attracting outside agencies.

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Student Patrol

The Student Patrol program began in 1990 and currently consists of fifteen student patrol members who serve the students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the UNI campus. UNI students involved in the program represent a variety of majors, including freshman through senior classifications.

Student Patrol is one of the most recognizable elements of the Department of Public Safety at UNI. They can be easily identified by their silver jackets and navy polo shirts. While a majority of assignments are walking patrol beats, the Student Patrol regularly uses golf carts and vans for certain tasks.

Student Patrol members assist the UNI Police Officers in doing all nature of tasks that free officers for their law enforcement mission. Student Patrol members play a vital role in providing safety awareness on campus through a variety of programs designed to educate the University community about safety issues and concerns. Student Patrol members are also committed to maintaining a safe learning environment for all UNI students, while safeguarding the rights of the individual

Student Patrol operations enhance the safety of UNI and also give Student Patrol member and excellent opportunity to gain leadership experience and to impact safety issues while acting as liaisons between Public Safety and the UNI community. The natures of situations encountered by patrol members necessitate developing critical thinking and conflict management skills, both of which provide experiential learning. They also handle many administrative tasks, such as scheduling, training and managing deployment in-house, with significant opportunities and responsibilities for members.

The patrol members are provided with great experience for a future in law enforcement or other public service. Student Patrol members serve in countless federal, state and local governmental and criminal justice agencies throughout the nations.

UNI students who are in good standing with the university and are enrolled for at least six hours of credit are encouraged to apply for a Student Patrol position. Successful applicants must pass an interview process and a criminal background check. Student Patrol positions are funded through departmental funding, but students qualifying for work study are also encouraged to apply.

Application Form - Complete and return to Public Safety

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Communication Center

The Communications Center of Public Safety is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The communications staff is comprised of 4 full-time dispatchers, and 1 part-time dispatcher. The university also employs students as dispatchers. All are certified through the State of Iowa to utilize the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) computer systems. In addition to the NCIC computer, the dispatchers also utilize the university information systems and various Internet resources in assisting other law enforcement agencies the public, and our own investigations. The current dispatchers have over 50 years of combined law enforcement and dispatching experience.

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Investigations

The police division has one full-time plain-clothes investigator and an investigations supervisor. The investigative unit reviews all information regarding criminal incidents to determine if further investigation is needed. While police officers often times follow up their own cases, investigators contact reporting parties of an incident, to verify information and to conduct interviews. The information gathered during the follow-up stage supports a potential prosecution and/or university disciplinary action.

Investigations staff assist with coordinating many community initiatives and joint investigations. Initiatives include the Rape Aggression Defense training and investigations include working closely with the Black Hawk County Attorney and Tri-County Drug Task Force.

UNI Police Investigators are specially trained in areas of sexual abuse, child abuse, property theft, and crime scene identification. This is a rotating assignment available to all qualified police officers.