New York State University Police

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New York State University Police
NY - State University Police.jpg
NY State University Police logo.jpg
Flag of the State of New York
Flag of the State of New York
Motto"Protecting New York's Future"
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 20, 1968 (as SUNY Campus Security)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionNew York, United States
Legal jurisdictionNew York
Governing bodyState University of New York
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersSystem Administration

State University Plaza

Albany, NY 12246
Police OfficersApprox. 600
Agency executive
  • Mary Ritiyak, Commissioner
Parent agencyState University of New York

The New York State University Police (NYSUP) is the law enforcement agency of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Approximately 600 uniformed officers and investigators, as well as sixty-four chiefs, serve the 29 state college and university campuses throughout the state.[3]

University Police Officers (UPO) are charged with crime detection and prevention, in addition to the enforcement of state and local laws, rules, and regulations. As part of the unit's prevention activities, officers speak on topics such as sexual assault, drugs, crime prevention and traffic safety. Officers are responsible for developing and maintaining a positive relationship with students, faculty, and staff in order to ensure safety and facilitate cooperation within the campus community.


The New York State University Police was formed in response to growing unrest in the SUNY system during the mid-1960s. Demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War, the growing drug use, questioning authority and various political movements and demonstrations contributed to the formation of today's State University Police. Several incidents during the 1990s emphasized the need for a full service police agency. These included a hostage-taking in a University at Albany lecture hall by a deranged gunman,[4] the "Bike Path Rapist" who killed a female student at the University at Buffalo and the suspicious circumstances regarding the disappearance of a University at Albany student while on campus. These and other incidents moved the Governor and Legislature to create the New York State University Police in 1999. Officers have the powers of arrest, issue uniform traffic tickets, and enforce New York State laws.


First Campus Security Officer exam was given
Security and Peace Officers were included in the Education Law
First arming program conducted at University at Albany
Task force for Public Safety recommends move from Education Law to Penal Law
The omnibus Peace Officer Bill was signed putting Public Safety Officer/University Police in the Criminal Procedure Law.
R. Bruce McBride appointed as Director of Public Safety
New York State University Police name proposed
January 1: SUNY Public Safety officers gain Police Officer status (University Police Officers now use police officer title and mirror the New York State Police.)

Rank Insignia[edit]

Title Insignia
3 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Commissioner
2 Gold Stars.svg
Chief of University Police
3 Gold Stars.svg
Assistant Chief of University Police
2 Gold Stars.svg
Deputy Chief of University Police
1 Gold Star.svg
US-O6 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
Technical Sergeant
Investigator (plainclothes) INV
University Police Officer

Operational overview[edit]

University Police Officers (UPO) receive their official powers through Education Law and Criminal Procedure law. These laws authorize University Police Officers to make warrantless arrests based on probable cause, to use appropriate force in making an arrest, to issue uniform appearance tickets and traffic summons and to execute arrest and bench warrants. For minor offenses, officers can use discretion to refer students to the college judicial board instead of pursuing an arrest. Officers have the option of referring arrested students to the college judiciary system.

Operational unit[edit]

University Police Communications and Security Specialist 1 provide communications, security, and public safety services within a 24/7 operation in the University Police Department at the campuses of the State University of New York. These positions will require working during various shifts. Their primary responsibility is to function as a desk officer, including communication activities such as dispatching and using various databases, online systems, and multiple video sources. University Police Communications and Security Specialist 1 are required to wear uniforms. Where appropriate, they also may perform patrol duties and assist University Police Officers.[5]

Security Services Assistant The primary duties of Security Services Assistants is building security however they may also be assigned posts to assist with traffic management, event management and other duties as assigned consistent with their job description. As they move about the campus the SSAs are the "eyes and ears" of the department and are responsible to relay any unusual activity they observe to dispatch.[6]

SUNY Police bill[edit]

On July 22, 1998, the SUNY Police bill was signed by Governor George Pataki. This bill provided for the creation of the New York State University Police. One clause requires each campus president to enter into a "mutual aid" agreement with adjoining police agencies.


New trainees are trained at regional academies located in the area in which they are stationed. For each campus, the number of officers varies as a function of geographic size as well as the population.[7]

Training for new officers meets or exceeds the "New York State Department of Criminal Justice Standards for Police Officers". The "Police Officer Basic Course" covers the traditional, fundamental law-enforcement realms, including:

  • Penal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Vehicle and Traffic Law and others.
  • Defensive Tactics
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug and Alcohol Recognition and Enforcement
  • Emergency Vehicle Operation
  • Chemical Agents
  • Physical Training
  • Arrest Techniques and Process
  • Report Writing
  • Interviewing and Interrogating
  • Investigation Techniques
  • Patrol Tactics
  • Traffic and Felony Vehicle Stops
  • Critical Incident Management
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Emotionally Disturbed Persons
  • Computer Operations

After completion of this course-based training, each new officer completes a minimum twelve-week on-the-job training supervised by a Field Training Officer from their respective campus. Further training can be added. For example, the emergence of more-recent modern threats such as active shooters has resulted in a college-by-college approach for response protocols, along with additional training, preparatory measures, and coordination with local law-enforcement agencies.[7]

Specialized units[edit]

Depending on location and training, officers can be selected for specialized units that allow the agency to better serve the community. Some of these units include:

  • Police Bike Patrol Unit
  • Firearms Training Unit
  • Crime Prevention/Education Unit
  • K-9 Unit (Tracking, Narcotics and/or Explosive Detection)[8][9]
  • Crime Scene Unit
  • Civil Disturbance Response Unit
  • Honor Guard
  • Rape Aggression Defense Class Instructor Unit
  • Mounted Unit[10][11]
  • Division of Protective Operations (Chancellor Protection / Visiting Dignitary Protection)

The force includes a Criminal Investigations Unit, a "plainclothes" unit responsible for both criminal and non-criminal investigations. Criminal Investigators train in investigative topics, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, crimes, and evidence collection and preservation.

Recent developments[edit]

In 2010, the New York State University Police at Stony Brook University became the second in the New York State University Police system to become an accredited law enforcement agency by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice services. The accreditation shows that the department exceeds the standards required to be a law enforcement agency in the state of New York. Fewer than half of the law enforcement agencies in New York meet accreditation requirements.

NYSUP union President James McCartney testified in 2007 before the state Senate Higher Education Committee and, again in 2008, to the SUNY Board of Trustees. His testimony discussed what he claimed to be a dysfunctional, decentralized command system and ongoing staffing, equipment, and training deficiencies. McCartney also expressed concern about the "top-heavy" UPD Chief staff, noting its sixty-five management positions, compared to a combined total of twenty-four across other state law enforcement agencies.


A 2007 investigative audit by the New York State Comptroller found that the majority of SUNY campuses had, in violation of the Federal Clery Act, underreported crimes and failed to disclose required safety and security policies.

Following the arrest in 2009 of three SUNY Geneseo students in relation to the death of a nineteen-year-old student,[12] it was revealed that the New York State Inspector General was investigating the incident. Investigators appeared to be focusing the accuracy of crime reporting and on allegations that the police administration was not notifying neighboring agencies of students engaging in off-campus criminal activity.

The audit of SUNY compliance with the Clery act was appealed because of complaints that "accounting tricks" were used to find fault with Annual Security Reports (ASR) by the Office of the State Comptroller. After much discussion and negotiation, OSC issued a formal letter that stated that any discrepancies reported in an earlier audit had been corrected by SUNY, and that campuses were substantially in compliance.


In December 2015, New York State passed a bill enabling University Police Officers (UPO) to retire after 25 years. Prior to 2015, the New York State University Police was the only state law enforcement agency requiring employees to work to age 63 to earn pension eligibility. This had led to instability and a "train and transfer" cycle, where young officers would quickly leave to join law enforcement agencies with more attractive pension plans.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History - SUNY".
  2. ^ "Campus Locations - SUNY".
  3. ^ "University Police Department". Stony Brook University. Stony Brook University. 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  4. ^ James Dao (15 December 1994). "Gunman Terrorizes Students in Campus Siege". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Communications Officers - Job Opportunities - University Police Department - University at Albany - SUNY".
  6. ^ "Security Services Assistant - Job Opportunities - University Police Department - University at Albany - SUNY".
  7. ^ a b, ALAN RIZZO. "PBA chief: campuses lack shooter defense". NNY360.
  8. ^ "Members - University Police Department - University at Albany - SUNY".
  9. ^ "Members - University Police Department - University at Albany - SUNY".
  10. ^ Newspapers, Lee (May 17, 2013). "Officer John Bagdovitz and Flapjack Attack bring Mounted Patrol to SUNY Cobleskill".
  11. ^ Newspapers, Lee (April 15, 2015). "A dream comes true for Officer Norman Schubert and Reagan".
  12. ^ "Three arrested in connection with student death - News". September 29, 2009. Archived from the original on September 29, 2009.
  13. ^ December 22, Jeff Waggoner on; AM, 2015 at 10:16 (December 22, 2015). "Cuomo signs bill allowing SUNY cops to join police and fire pension". Capitol Confidential.

External links[edit]