University Police Services

Philosophy and Service

The Oklahoma State University Police Department is dedicated to enhancing the opportunity for students, faculty and staff to participate in the educational experience by providing a safe, protected and orderly environment. As a service organization, the department offers a full range of police resources, including area patrols, criminal investigations, crime prevention, facilities security analysis, and event planning. In addition, members of the department serve on University and community committees, provide training and specialized presentations to campus organizations and living groups, participate in the design and installation of safety and traffic control devices, and act as special advisers to all campus departments and administration. The professional police men and women, full-time staff members, and part-time employees are all handpicked to meet the high standards and multidimensional mission of a police department.

The OSU Police Department recently implemented a SafeWalk program. Established on November 1, 2013, and staffed with trained Public Service Officers, the SafeWalk program promotes personal safety by offering free walking escorts to members of the OSU community to destinations within the campus grounds or within the Greek Neighborhood. A person can call the OSU Police Department’s non-emergency number (405-744-6523) and request assistance or make a request directly to any Public Service Officer on duty. The SafeWalk program operates between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. daily. In addition to the SafeWalk program, these Public Service Officers perform security checks of campus buildings and surrounding grounds, watching for criminal behavior or suspicious activity, and have direct radio contact with the law enforcement officers of the OSU Police Department.

The OSU Police Department was the first policing agency in the State of Oklahoma to receive accreditation from the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police. The OSU Police Department gained accreditation in 1998 and continues its status after undergoing accreditation reviews in 2002, 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2015. The OSU Police Department is comprised of 34 sworn officers. The department employs a number of part-time employees (student employees) to perform low-threat duties such as entrance and motorist assists and selected assignments dealing with traffic and crowd control. Through efficient management of resources and success in gaining grant funding from State and Federal sources, the department continues to provide highly trained officers with appropriate communications and police equipment.

Policies and procedures have been adopted that stress conservation of equipment and supplies. Grants from the Department of Justice and other sources have allowed the complete computerization of the records keeping and data management functions. Other grants have provided funding necessary for the installation of video camera systems and other protective measures in high target areas of the campus. Overall, the department has gained more than four hundred thousand dollars in grant support to provide the OSU community with better protection and police services. All officers are trained in the principles of community oriented policing.

OSU police provide a positive image to visitors and members of the campus community, whether it is providing directions, motorist assistance, information, or just a friendly welcome. Officers represent the University as a group of caring and professional people, intent upon enhancing a friendly community atmosphere. Necessary enforcement includes using alternatives to arrest when reasonable, and cooperating fully with administrative services and functions that have an impact on student conduct. Enforcement efforts are geared toward providing a safe community.

OSU police participation in athletic and special event staging and planning ensures that all aspects of safety and security of participants are considered. OSU police provide professional crowd control and traffic regulation before, during, and after such events. As first responders to emergency situations, OSU police are often cited by citizens for decisiveness and professionalism. Students and staff find the OSU police willing to share statistics, insights, and experiences as a basis for class reports or vocational interest. OSU police managers seek proactive means to avoid problems and situations, whether it is suggesting added security measures, providing insight on planned activities, or using investigative analysis to assign a deterrent force.

For the OSU police, "service" is not just a word or a part of a catchy slogan, but a way of life. Service programs, such as motorist assistance, money escorts, and emergency notifications are a part of the department's efforts to be involved in the community. OSU's emergency phone system was recently updated and expanded, and there are currently 98 emergency phones strategically located on campus. These phones, with immediate response from the police, have been in operation since 1979 and are still being copied by other universities.

Operating under a 1989 grant from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, the OSU police launched the program Campus Community Alcohol Safety Effort (C-CASE), aimed at promoting traffic safety by educating citizens, primarily students, about the importance of good driving behaviors and the effects and penalties of alcohol use and abuse. A second positive effect of the C-CASE effort was the strict enforcement of alcohol-related laws that has shown dramatic results in getting the drunk driver off campus streets and consequentially preventing alcohol-related accidents. This program continues with a combination of education and enforcement efforts directed toward traffic safety and have served as a model for other policing agencies throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Thousands of visitors, campers, fishermen, and sightseers visit Lake Carl Blackwell and surrounding recreational areas. OSU Police Officers provide friendly and efficient police protection, including lake patrol and rescue operations on the water.

Overall, the OSU Police Department believes in providing proactive law enforcement and service to the University community.

Crime Awareness

Security, Prevention, Statistics, Intervention

Crime. It is an unfortunate fact that criminal incidents of all types occur on college campuses. Many campuses around the country investigate and make public the nature of crimes, the number, and how they are investigated. Oklahoma State University subscribes to that approach and further believes that the public should know how active the OSU Police is in crime prevention and detection.

The OSU police sponsor a number of special programs for faculty, staff and students designed to provide information about campus security practices and procedures. During freshman parents' orientation each summer and monthly new employee seminars, procedures, suggested practices, availability of pertinent information, and individual responsibilities are discussed. The OSU police crime prevention staff provides additional safety and security programs as requested. (See also "Avoiding Victimization.")

The crime statistics for the past three years for OSU may be found on the Internet at police.okstate.edu.

Reporting Crimes

Crime victims, regardless how seemingly insignificant the crime, are encouraged to promptly report the incident to the OSU Police or the appropriate police agency. To report a crime, a victim or witness need only call the police phone number, 311 (non-emergency) 911 for emergencies, and the Orange Shield Safety App for both emergency and non-emergency, and a police officer will meet the person to gather the information. For those individuals preferring to use personal cell phones, the caller should dial 744-6523 for non-emergency situation, or 911 for emergencies if they do not have the Orange Shield Safety App. The Orange Shield Safety App directs emergency calls to the OSU Police Department when the user is on campus, and connects with the normal 911 center serving the location the caller is in, if the user is off campus. An official report is made with copies available to the victim. Each day the incidents from the previous day, excluding names, are summarized and made available to the OSU president, key OSU staff, other law enforcement agencies, the media, and published on the Public Safety Internet page. Each month the number of incidents in each category of crime are counted and reported to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, who in turn provides the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Each year, the FBI publishes a book of crime statistics called Crime in the United States that includes accurate accounting of the criminal incidents that occurred on the OSU campus. OSU has reported crime statistics in this manner since the FBI began publishing campus crime statistics in 1971.

Students and others are encouraged to report crimes or incidents to persons on campus with significant counseling responsibilities. The OSU Public Safety Department has further developed procedures for collecting information on crimes and violations pertaining to liquor laws, drug-related violations, and weapons violations from such counseling personnel and persons referred for campus disciplinary actions on these offenses. Such violations are published along with other criminal statistics.

Should a student need assistance in reporting crimes or incidents on or off campus, university counselors or police will provide guidance, direction or assistance.

Crimes in Progress

To report a crime in progress, a person, victim or witness, can dial 911 or use one of the outside emergency telephones, call one of the police phone numbers, or use the Orange Shield Safety App. Either reporting method will stimulate the response of police, fire, ambulance, or other first responders. The Orange Shield Safety App also allows texting of pertinent information along with video or still images of crimes in progress or suspicious activity. The Orange Shield Safety App directs emergency calls to the OSU Police Department when the user is on campus, and connects with the normal 911 center serving the location the caller is in if the user is off campus. Crimes in progress or suspicious activity can be reported anonymously through the Orange Shield Safety App. In addition, the victim of serious crimes can request support personnel, such as ministers, rape crisis or domestic violence counseling, during or after reporting. Additionally, crime victims may be eligible for funds through victim compensation laws administered by the Office of the District Attorney.

Actual Crime at OSU

Although both OSU and the Stillwater Community enjoy a relatively safe environment, it is important to realize that crimes do occur and that everyone should take reasonable precautions to protect themselves and their property.

The crime and arrest statistics reported are those which occurred within the jurisdictional boundaries of campus. They do not include "off campus" organizations or "off campus" private housing; these are within the city's police jurisdiction. It is the responsibility of the Stillwater Police Department to monitor and record criminal activities at "off campus" organizations or "off campus" private housing. Crime statistics concerning these locations or areas are available at the Stillwater Police Department.

Crime Statistics

The OSU Public Safety Department collects and publishes crime statistics for the three most recent calendar years concerning the occurrence on campus, in or on non-campus buildings, or property and on public property adjacent to OSU, of the following offenses reported to the local police agencies or to the OSU Police: Criminal Homicide, Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter, Negligent Manslaughter, Non-Forcible and Forcible Sex Offenses, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, Arson, and Arrests for liquor law violations, drug law violations, and weapon violations. Crime statistics are also reported by category of prejudice for any Hate Crimes reported.

All of these statistics are published on the OSU Public Safety Internet site at police.okstate.edu and are available for printing if individuals desire a printed version of the publication. A paper copy can be obtained by calling the Public Safety Office or by writing to OSU Public Safety, 104 USDA Building, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078 or by requesting a copy electronically at the above Internet site.

Future

Although it is believed that the low incidence of crime will continue, this report is not intended to give a false sense of security. Crime will occur, but prevention efforts can be effective in reducing the opportunities for criminal activity. Citizens play a key role in crime prevention efforts by being cautious, careful, and alert to personal safety and protective of personal and University possessions. The crime prevention tips noted below should be followed.

Security and Access Control

It is OSU's policy to lock the doors of buildings that are not in use. However, when working or studying in buildings after normal working hours, it is suggested that individual offices be locked, based upon an assumption that unrestricted access to the building is possible. Some buildings on campus are rarely locked, at the department's request, since students study and work on projects all hours of the day and night. Again, individual offices should be locked by the user on a presumption that the building is accessible. Residence halls have open access between the hours of 6 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. During non-open access hours, all residence hall doors are locked except the front desk entrance. Instances of propped open doors have occurred, and residents are encouraged to take security precautions in the halls and rooms. Individual rooms should be locked at all times for safety.

Crime Prevention

OSU has experienced success at reducing and preventing crime. Some of the more notable efforts are:

  • Emergency telephone system
  • Emergency 911 dialing
  • Orange Shield Safety App
  • SafeWalk Program
  • 24-hour preventive patrols
  • Campus foot patrol by uniformed officers
  • Police officer bicycle patrol
  • Police officer Segway patrol
  • Burglar alarms in key areas
  • 24-hour staff in residence halls
  • Custodial staff in academic buildings after hours
  • Crime prevention seminar presentations to groups
  • Crime prevention pamphlets for students and employees
  • Monitoring of some parking lots by surveillance cameras

Crime stopper telephone line - 744-TIPS (744-8477)
In addition to preventing crime, considerable effort is devoted to crime intervention. All reported crimes are investigated immediately. Follow-up investigation occurs to identify the offenders. Where multiple incidents occur, surveillance techniques are implemented to help apprehend violators. When caught, offenders are processed through the county court system and OSU when appropriate.

Police Protection

The OSU campus is protected by a campus police agency consisting of 34 sworn officers, seven support persons, and nine part-time persons. The agency is operated and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Authority of the sworn officers is derived from state statutes; these allow for full police powers on property owned or operated by OSU. In addition the OSU Police Department has a multi-jurisdictional agreement with the City of Stillwater and Payne County Sheriff's Office. These agreements provide additional resources for all agencies involved and therefore the OSU Police enjoy an excellent working relationship with other agencies within the community. All campus police officers undergo an extensive selection process and meet state-mandated training requirements.

Community Policing

The department subscribes to the concepts of community policing. The officers have been practicing problem-solving concepts for years. A police officer bicycle patrol and Segway patrol was established to provide an opportunity for the officers to have closer contact with students.

Avoiding Victimization

Tips for personal safety and property security:

  • Be cautious of strangers.
  • Avoid getting into vulnerable no-exit places.
  • Do not hesitate to call police when confronted by unknown persons.
  • Keep house or residence hall room locked.
  • At night, walk in groups of at least two.
  • Walk with confidence, and avoid walking near bushes and parked cars.
  • Become familiar with the location of emergency telephones.
  • When parking, remove valuables from plain view and lock the vehicle.
  • Engrave valuables with driver's license number and record serial numbers.
  • Make copies of credit cards and lists of other valuables carried on person.
  • Write name and ID number in several places in textbooks.
  • Lock bicycle in a bicycle rack.
  • Report all incidents and losses to police immediately

When serious crimes occur on or off campus that are considered to be a threat to the campus community, that information will be provided to faculty, staff and students. The medium for this information dissemination will be the campus newspaper, faculty/staff newsletters, or in special instances, specific notices to on-campus residences. Such notices may be posted on residence hall entrance doors, in residents' mail boxes, or placed on electronic voice mail. In addition, the OSU Department of Public Safety maintains an Internet page at police.okstate.edu. This page allows access to the daily crime log, crime prevention tips, and links to other sites providing similar information pertinent to the OSU campus.

Alcoholic Beverages and Other Drugs

As set forth in local, state and federal laws, and the rules and regulations of the University, Oklahoma State University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees in buildings, facilities, grounds, or other property owned and/or controlled by the University or as part of University activities.

Under OSU regulations, with limited exceptions, no low-point beer or other alcoholic beverage is allowed in OSU housing, including fraternities and sororities. Furthermore, under the same regulations, the possession/consumption of low-point beer or alcohol by those of legal age (over 21) is allowed only in certain designated, non-public places on the OSU campus, properties and facilities, including Lake Carl Blackwell. For further explanation, see the pamphlet "OSU Dangers of Drugs and Alcohol Abuse."

Drug and alcohol laws are vigorously enforced on the OSU campus. Violators are subject to criminal prosecution in the District Court of Payne County. The enforcement techniques range from plain view violation to long-term undercover investigations by local, state, or federal agents and agencies.

University Counseling Services and the Employee Assistance Program have counseling and rehabilitation programs for students and employees, respectively. Should these programs not meet an individual's needs, there are other programs in the community or nearby that may be better suited. A number of such programs are listed in the "OSU Dangers of Drugs and Alcohol Abuse" pamphlet.

Students should be aware that a student who has been convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance shall not be eligible to receive any grant, loan or work assistance under this title during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the table below (the Conference Report on the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 [H.R. 6], September 25, 1998, Suspension of Financial Aid for Drug Convictions, Sec. 483. Student Eligibility).

If convicted of an offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, ineligibility period is:

First offense 1 year
Second offense 2 years
Third offense Indefinite

If convicted of an offense involving the sale of a controlled substance, ineligibility period is:

First offense 2 years
Second offense Indefinite

Sexual Assault

What to do if Victimized

Oklahoma State University's prevention efforts in the area of sexual assault (including rape) involve the entire community. Many groups are involved in sexual assault prevention. These groups include the OSU Police Department, Residential Life, University Counseling, OSU faculty, Greek Life, University Conduct Office, OSU Student Health Center, OSU Mental Health, PaNOK (students who are peer educators), and OSU staff personnel. They provide training programs, presentations, and workshops to any interested individuals or groups.

Program topics generally include stranger rape, date and acquaintance rape, rapist characteristics, rape trauma syndrome, and victim recovery. An increasing number of presentations, explaining the male's role in sexual assaults, are directed to all male audiences, such as fraternities and athletic teams.

Procedures to Follow

A victim of sexual assault should follow certain procedures and consider several options. These procedures and options are clearly outlined in the rape avoidance seminars mentioned previously and "Rape Prevention" pamphlets made available to the OSU community. These educational programs and pamphlets also outline techniques and strategies that help people recognize and avoid sexual assault threats.

Evidence

Preserving evidence is of paramount importance after a sexual assault. Victims should be careful not to bathe, douche, wash clothing, or tamper with other potential evidence after a sexual assault. The first inclination may be to do one or more of these; however, the temptation should be resisted. Evidence is critical in a criminal prosecution.

Contacting the Police Department

When a sexual assault is reported to the OSU Police Department or to the Stillwater Police Department, an officer is dispatched. Determining the extent of physical and emotional trauma that the victim has suffered will be the officer's first concern. If the attack just occurred, the officer will want a brief review of the events, a description of the assailant, the direction of travel, and a description of the vehicle used by the assailant, if any. This information is necessary in order to apprehend the assailant as soon as possible. After the initial interview, the officer or whoever is designated by the victim, will assist in getting a complete change of clothes.

Agreeing to have a Sexual Assault Examination

An officer or designee will take the victim to the Student Health Clinic or the Stillwater Medical Center to be examined by a physician. A complete physical examination will be given as well as treatment for any injuries. A friend or relative may be permitted to accompany the victim. In addition, the victim may be examined for the purpose of obtaining evidence that would be needed in court. Appropriate antibiotic therapy can be given to decrease the chances of developing venereal disease. After the examination at the hospital, the officer may bring the victim back to the police headquarters or another location to complete the interview. Again, a counselor is encouraged to be present.

The victim of a rape is not responsible for legal expenses related to the criminal prosecution. The case is prosecuted by the Office of the District Attorney. The victim only has to contribute time. The Stillwater Medical Center can provide initial medical services for rape victims. The Crime Victims Compensation Board can provide payment for medical services and counseling, even if charges are not filed. The victim need only file an application with the Office of the District Attorney.

Police Investigation

Later, at police headquarters, the victim will be asked to be more specific about the events of the attack. A person of the victim's choosing may accompany the victim during this period. This questioning is done to help the investigation and to help arrange the events firmly in mind. The victim's comments will probably be tape recorded for future reference. This will make testifying in court much easier and less frightening. It will be handled considerately and courteously. Only the investigating officer will ask questions. Based on conversations with the officer, the victim can then decide whether or not to file charges. Threats or harassment of a rape victim after charges have been filed are rare. When finished at police headquarters, the victim can go to a place of their choice. OSU and Stillwater Police officers have been trained to deal with sexual assault victims. However, if the victim should feel uncomfortable speaking to a male officer, every effort will be made to notify a female officer, female counselor, or female volunteer.

A rape or sexual assault may be reported to the hall director, a university counselor, or health worker at the Student Health Center. Charges do not have to be filed against the attacker if a rape is reported. However, it is wise to give information to the police anyway. The information and suspect description may help locate a suspect in other offenses and possibly prevent another person from becoming the victim of a rape. The police will not know that there is a rapist on campus unless they are told. The police will not pressure the victim to file charges. Victims of sexual assault can elect to have personal information eliminated from police reports.

Support Services

University Conduct Office

If the victim does not want the case to be addressed through the criminal justice system, another alternative is available. Cases involving students who are accused of non-academic misconduct might be assigned to the Office of Student Conduct. Persons found guilty of sexual assault, forcible or non-forcible, could be placed on probation or suspended from OSU. Both the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a campus disciplinary hearing, and both are entitled to be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Conduct at 405-744-5470. Also, a copy of the "Student's Rights and Responsibilities" can be obtained at various locations on campus.

Role of University Housing and Residential Life

The hall directors and resident assistants who work in the residence halls continually attend sexual assault training programs, and they learn how to respond to a student who has been victimized by a sexual or physical attack. They have been informed about the resources available; in fact, some have been trained to conduct sexual assault presentations and workshops. A victim of a sexual assault may request assistance from the University administration in changing academic and/or living situations where a continued threat may be reasonably assumed.

Role of University Counseling Services. The OSU Student Health Center and University Counseling Services provide individual and group counseling services for those victimized by sexual or physical assault. Services are available to all Oklahoma State University students, regardless of gender, and their significant others.

The psychological and emotional trauma after a sexual assault can be painful. Possible symptoms include: eating disorders, sleep disturbances, lack of trust, guilt feelings, depression, mood swings, and relationship and communication problems. Sexual assault incidents can only be greatly reduced when men and women understand the dynamics involved in sexual assaults and are willing to participate in educational programming and ongoing communication.