The Missouri S&T Police Department supports the campus community in fulfilling its commitment to teaching, research, and service by providing a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors in partnership with all members of the campus community.
We adhere to the following values:
The functions performed by the university police include many services offered by a small municipal police agency as well as certain service functions unique to the university setting. The university police have an authorized strength of 25 full-time employees, including 12 state-commissioned police officers, 5 security guards, 2 parking control officers and 6 administrative staff members. S&T police officers are empowered under Chapter 172.350 of the Missouri Revised Statutes — as such the officers are commissioned and armed. Additionally, all S&T police officers possess Rolla City Police commissions. Police officers patrol on foot and by vehicle all properties owned by Missouri S&T 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The security guards perform additional security checks on the main campus during evening and night hours. In addition to the full-time staff, the department employs 9 campus service officers (CSO's), who are students that assist on a part-time basis. The university police also have a reserve police officer program whereby part-time officers are used on an as-needed basis.
Duties of the university police include, but are not limited to preventative patrols, the investigation of crimes, crime prevention through active campus involvement, service to students and others in emergencies, special event coverage, overseeing parking lot operations, and the enforcement of state laws, city ordinances, and university rules and regulations.
The Missouri University of Science and Technology Police Department has played an important role to the Missouri S&T campus community and indirectly to the City of Rolla since its earliest inception as a watchmen service in 1952.
The Missouri University of Science and Technology Police Department came into existence in 1971. Prior to that year, the department was called the Traffic Safety & Security Department. The Traffic Safety & Security Department in the 1950's and early '60's consisted initially of one full-time employee whose primary duty was to enforce University parking regulations on campus parking lots. This employee worked during the normal daytime operating hours of the University and doubled as a chauffeur for Curtis L. Wilson, Dean of the School of Mines at the time. This employee was not commissioned, uniformed, or armed.
In the spring of 1967, the University hired its first full-time police officer. It is important to note that from this point on the University began commissioning employees of the Traffic Safety & Security Department as police officers. The commissioned personnel of the Traffic Safety & Security Department were both uniformed and armed. The uniforms of the day looked similar to that of a conservation agent, which consisted of green pants and a light gray shirt. The officers were armed with .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolvers.
Over the next year and a half, three more police officers were hired by the University. The focus of the police officers during this time period was primarily building security and traffic enforcement on campus. In 1968, several more officers were hired as a result of tensions being raised on American college campuses because of the Vietnam War.
On November 15, 1968, Kelly Gibbons, a former FBI agent, was hired as the new Chief of the Traffic Safety & Security Department. The department consisted of six officers and approximately a dozen non-commissioned watchmen at this time. Chief Gibbons was succeeded by Chief Richard Boulware in 1975, Chief Boulware was succeeded by Chief Bill Bleckman in 1991, Chief Bleckman was succeeded by Chief Christine Laughlin in 2010 and Chief Laughlin was succeeded by Chief Doug Roberts in 2016.
Origins of the University watchmen date back to about 1952, and were originally part of the University's Physical Facilities Department. Some of their original duties were to check boilers, the steam tunnels, and the buildings themselves for safety hazards. Gradually the watchmen took on more and more security oriented duties. In March of 1967, the watchmen were transferred from the control of the Physical Facilities Department to the Traffic Safety & Security department. Around 1976, the "Watchman" title was changed to that of Security Guard.
A significant change to the University Police Department occurred in 1992, when the Department created the Campus Service Officer program. This program was originally created for two purposes. The first purpose was to establish a student escort service. The second purpose was to give the department more personnel in some of its routine functions such as maintaining security foot patrols on campus, assisting with special event coverage, and helping to enforce parking lot regulations.
Currently, the University Police Department is composed of 24 full-time employees, including 12 sworn officers, 6 security guards, 3 administrative assistants, one parking supervisor and two parking service officers. In addition to the department's full-time personnel, the department employs 9 students who work on a part-time basis as Campus Service Officers. The command structure of the sworn personnel includes the police chief, 3 lieutenants, and 8 patrol officers. Each lieutenant is charged with the supervision of one of the 3 eight-hour shifts. There are usually one to three police officers on duty at a time. The uniforms resembling a conservation agent were replaced by the department in 1974 in favor of a blue Missouri Highway Patrolman's style uniform and the officers are now armed with .40 caliber semiautomatic pistols. The role of the University Police Department is best summed up in its mission statement:
"The mission of the University Police Department is to support the campus community in fulfilling its commitment to teaching, research, and service by providing a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors in partnership with all members of the campus community."
In order to achieve this mission, functions of the department include selective patrol, education of the campus citizen to the threat of crime, investigation of crimes, apprehension of criminals, and advising individuals and departments on security. In addition to its primary mission statement, the department carries out several secondary missions which include enforcement of traffic safety regulations, traffic and crowd control at special activities and guard and escort of university funds and personnel.
Other services the University Police provide include property engraving, lost & found service, crime prevention programs, fingerprinting, vehicle lock-out service, call-in service when physical facilities problems are noticed by Department personnel and monitoring of the emergency phone system.
The authority and jurisdiction of the University of Missouri police officers is often misunderstood and confused by both the common public and members of the campus community itself. It is commonly asked by citizens whether a University police officer is a "real" police officer with powers of arrest, or in fact, simply a security guard. The second question often asked of University police officers concerns what their jurisdiction actually is. The question is usually phrased "can a University police officer stop and arrest someone they see breaking the law off campus?" The answer to both of these questions is "yes."
The Revised Statutes of Missouri, 1996, specifically sections 172.350 and 172.355, provide the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri "with the same authority to maintain order, preserve peace and make arrests as is now held by peace officers." The above statutes in effect gives University police officers jurisdiction on all University of Missouri property throughout the state of Missouri, which currently totals over 20,000 acres. University police officers are authorized to enforce state laws and University rules and regulations under this statute.
In March of 1989, under an agreement between Chief Boulware and Rolla Police Chief Mike Snavely, University police officers became commissioned through the city of Rolla as reserve patrol officers. This second commission gave University police officers the same authority and jurisdiction within the city limits of Rolla as regular full-time city police officers. This second commission also gave University police officers the option of citing a lawbreaker either through the city ordinances or through the state of Missouri.
The University Police respond to hundreds of calls every year ranging from peace disturbances to suspicious individuals to physical assaults. The University has compiled crime statistics since 1972 which in turn have been reported to the Missouri State Highway Patrol since 1989.
University Police officers are required to satisfy the same state training requirements, Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), to become a certified law enforcement officer as is every other law enforcement agency in the state of Missouri. Currently this minimum training requirement is over 600 hours of basic training at a state certified police academy. University police officers receive numerous hours of training throughout the year, including firearms training twice per year, monthly training on recent court decisions affecting law enforcement issues, and many other training topics.
The University Police Department has become a leader of local law enforcement agencies, with many firsts that were later duplicated by surrounding departments. The University Police Department was the first agency in the county to recognize the importance of computers and how much they could improve operations. In 1985, the Department was the first to begin computerizing all police reports and other key departmental information allowing accurate and near-instantaneous access to records which before was cumbersome at best. The Department began utilizing a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer in the investigation of crimes in 1995 and was the third university police department in the nation to do so. Local agencies have made use of the University Police Department's CVSA trained personnel and equipment in their own investigations of crime. The Department was also the first law enforcement agency in the state of Missouri to establish its presence on the World Wide Web.
The University Police Department has developed from an agency whose original purpose in 1952 was to keep an eye on Missouri S&T campus buildings, to a full service professional law enforcement agency. The University Police Department has provided many valuable services to the University and will continue to be an integral part of the campus community.
Employment with the University Police Department is handled through Human Resources. For more information about current available positions, please visit the Human Resources careers page.
A current organization chart is available as a .pdf. You will need an up-to-date browser or a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader to view the chart.