CMU Police Garners First University Force's Re-Accreditation
By Bruce Gerson
They have the right to remain silent, but this achievement by Carnegie Mellon's police force is worth shouting about.
CMU Police recently became the first police force in higher education in the state to be re-accredited for continuing to meet the 132 policy, procedure and operation standards established as best practices by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (PCPA).
Standards range from dress code and office procedures to the use of force, gathering evidence and securing a crime scene.
Lt. Leon G. Crone Jr., of the Lower Allen Township Police Department and a member of the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission's assessment team, said the re-assessment of CMU Police was one of the smoothest the team has experienced.
"This is an agency that is clearly dedicated to executing police work the right way and has embraced a culture of professionalism that is evident in their performances and presentation," Crone said.
First accredited in 2007, CMU Police is one of only three college and university police forces to be accredited by the PCPA. The others are Duquesne and Lehigh universities.
There are 70 accredited police departments in Pennsylvania, which is comprised of 130 in higher education and about 1,200 municipal police agencies.
Under Chief Thomas Ogden, the university's police department includes 24 police officers, 41 security guards, 13 shuttle/escort drivers, four dispatchers and one business manager. The department provides police patrols and call response, criminal investigations, shuttle and escort services, security guard patrols, event security, and educational programming in crime prevention.
"Accreditation with the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission establishes that we have adopted professional best practices, policies and standards. I believe it is imperative that police, security and public safety entities endeavor to maintain the highest standards possible to help ensure excellent service and the public trust," Ogden said.
Ogden joined CMU in August 2008, after serving 29 years as a police officer for Mt. Lebanon, a south hills suburb of Pittsburgh. He was chief of Mt. Lebanon Police for 10 years. Ogden succeeded Chief Creig Doyle who left CMU to become police chief at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.
Photo by Tim Kaulen
CMU Police, such as Sgt. Jason Hendershot, patrol the campus streets to keep them safe. In 2010, they initiated 1,673 traffic stops for various violations, issuing more than 1,000 written warnings and more than 650 traffic citations.