Campus Officers & Community Officers: More Alike than You’d Think
Campus and community officers have many similarities in their jobs, and sometimes may even be colleagues. They both strive to keep their community safe, face many risks with every shift they work, and share similar leadership roles and responsibilities. Although thought of as different types of law enforcers, with differing job descriptions, they are actually quite similar and rely on each other to keep our communities and college campuses safe.
Let’s first start with campus officers, the law enforcement and safety leaders of any college or university. Campus officers are typically trained law enforcement agents that are assigned to a college campus, and in some cases may be employed by the local police department. On the other hand, they may be employed by the school, retired law enforcement or have specialized training. Whatever the situation, they work closely with their community officer counterparts.
College campuses face many of the same safety and security risks as public spaces because of the increasingly open environments. With little barriers to the surrounding community, other than the occasional door that is only accessed by an authorized ID card, others can come on the campus with minimal awareness by students, staff, and even officers.
When an incident occurs on the campus, campus officers respond as if they were in the community. They have patrol cars with lights, may carry a weapon, and generally have the authority to restrain and arrest, and depending on the severity of the incident may call for community officers as back up.
Campus officers are also generally in control of crime prevention on campus and are seen as leaders and ambassadors for safety. They hold meetings and demonstrations to teach college students how to be safe both on and off campus and send out reminders about ways to stay safe throughout the year.
Community officers are those that risk everything to keep our communities safe on a daily basis. Their area of jurisdiction is much greater than a campus officer, but they have similar job functions. They run nightly patrols, respond to calls of suspicious activity, create relationships with members of the community, and are a place to look for help.
We all know that our local police and sheriffs have the authority and the obligation to remove those who wish harm from our communities by arresting and when necessary using force. Community officers tend to have more rights and leeway in reducing crime and violence, but both types of officers are present to keep students and citizens safe from harm.
Much like campus officers, community officers have the obligation to teach us about safety. They go to schools and community events where they can be an ambassador and give helpful tips, teach people what to look for, and give out information for those needing help.
When the facts are presented, it is easy to see how campus officers have a very similar job to community officers, just on a smaller scale. Both have the obligation to keep their area safe and teach about safety and security; they are available to answer questions and are leaders and safety ambassadors for their communities. Both campus and community officers are critical to their own atmospheres and are very similar, just on a different scale.