Point Park's Department of Public Safety is responsible for providing all members of the University community with a safe and secure environment in which to work, learn and live. The department has sworn police officers and dispatchers. Police officers respond to criminal, security, fire and medical emergencies, and are on duty 365 days a year.
Police officers patrol University-owned buildings by foot, vehicle and bicycles. When requested, the Public Safety Department provides escorts for anyone on Point Park's campus to parking garages or to any destination on campus, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The department has received accreditation from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
Point Park University police officers are vested with all the police powers, authority and responsibilities of any police officer of the commonwealth. Point Park police officers have arrest powers and are armed. They have the right to ask persons for identification and to determine whether individuals have lawful business at Point Park University. All criminal incidents are referred to the police officers, which has jurisdiction on campus and surrounding public areas.
Police officers must successfully complete 751 hours of initial training at an approved police academy. The training curriculum is as mandated by the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission and includes topics such as criminal law and procedures, patrol and investigation practices and techniques, firearms, human values and problems, first aid and physical training. An array of in-service training programs is presented to update and enhance the professional skills of the officers.
The use of weapons by University police officers is governed by state law and the departmental regulation: officers shall use their firearms only to protect their lives or the life of another when there is a clear and immediate danger to life, or to prevent grievous injury to themselves or another when a clear and present danger exists.
University police officer authority and jurisdiction is defined by Pennsylvania Title 22, Pa.C.S.A. Detectives and private police, Section 501 (c), which states, "Such policemen, so appointed, shall severally possess and exercise all the powers of a police officer in this Commonwealth, in and upon, and in the immediate and adjacent vicinity of, the property of the corporation."
While University officer jurisdiction is limited to "the immediate and adjacent vicinity", Pennsylvania courts have ruled circumstances can extend this jurisdiction. Such circumstances include "pursuits," when an officer is actively pursuing a suspect. The severity of a crime witnessed by an officer can also have an effect on jurisdiction. When needed, University officers will request Pittsburgh police assistance or intervention.
The Point Park University Department of Public Safety maintains a highly professional working relationship with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, including the Commander of Zone 2, which covers the neighborhood where the Main Campus is located (Central Business District, downtown Pittsburgh), and the Commander of Zone 2, which covers the neighborhood where the Pittsburgh Playhouse is located (West Oakland). The Department of Public Safety also works closely with the FBI, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University police departments. The Public Safety Department will assist members of the University community in reporting crimes to the Pittsburgh Police. All crime victims and witnesses are strongly encouraged to immediately report the crime to Public Safety and the Pittsburgh Police. Prompt reporting will assure timely warning notices on campus and timely disclosure of crime statistics.
The Department of Public Safety at Point Park also maintains a highly professional working relationship with the Pennsylvania State Police. Among other things, the Public Safety Department furnishes the State Police with crime data on a monthly basis.
The primary responsibilities of the Police Division are to serve and protect persons and property used, owned, or occupied by Point Park University. The police officers are Act 120 certified and patrol 24/7, by foot, bicycle, and vehicle assigned areas of property. The police officers wear Body Worn Cameras and carry the antidote Narcan while on duty. They proactively prevent crime and apprehend offenders as necessary, while preserving peace, and ensuring the Point Park community's compliance with all federal, state, and local laws, and with internal Point Park University policies to the greatest extent possible. The Police Division is responsible for criminal investigations and crime scene processing for incidents. The Police Division regularly meets and consults with students, staff, and faculty regarding crime prevention and safety issues.
The primary responsibilities of the Public Safety Division are crime prevention, abatement, and security services within the Point Park patrol zone jurisdiction. Public Safety Division serves as dispatchers.
Chief Jeffrey Besong was honored with a YWCA Racial Justice award, Lt. Nicholas Black is one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 2015 40 Under 40 honorees, and Sgt. Matthew Mays recently won Honorable Mention for the Amen Law Enforcement award. This award is for the top 20 of Allegheny County's Most Outstanding Law Enforcement Officers for their dedication and bravery.