Carnegie Mellon University

Department Policies

The CMU Police Department’s mission, vision and core values are expressed in, and supported by, its policies. In addition, such policies promote compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations, as well as Carnegie Mellon’s official policies, with the overarching objective of maintaining the safety of all members of the university community.

Our policies are designed to provide our officers with clear guidance and expectations on how to handle specific situations they may encounter in the line of duty, and further require reporting to ensure compliance and transparency. Three examples of such policies are summarized below.

Excited Delirium

  • Helps CMU police officers to identify and manage individuals who are exhibiting bizarre behavior due to a serious medical condition – referred to as “Excited Delirium” – which may be caused by several factors, such as chronic drug use, substance withdrawal and/or a history of mental illness when the individual is not taking their medications properly. 
  • Requires officers to handle situations involving Excited Delirium as medical emergencies.
  • Requires officers to manage such situations in a manner that minimizes risk to all of those involved.
  • Requires officers to contain the area where the subject is located and await substantial assistance unless there is a significant public safety risk that requires the use of force as a last resort.
  • Recommends the use of calming communication attempts to gain the individual’s cooperation.
  • Provides that a custody plan must be executed as quickly as possible to prevent the escalation of the excited state of the individual, prolonged exertion by the individual and an increase in distress. 
  • Requires that the individual should be handled so there is no pressure applied to their head, neck or chest when possible.
  • Requires the individual to be positioned in an upright or sitting position, or on their side so they can breathe.
  • Requires constant monitoring of the individual to ensure their well-being until EMS takes control of their care.

Impartial Policing

  • Affirms the CMU Police Department’s commitment to impartial, unbiased policing and related security services, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, mental or physical disability, age or religion.
  • Prohibits the use of race, ethnicity, gender or other improper criteria as the sole basis for police enforcement or stops.
  • Requires thorough reporting of all incidents when persons are detained, stopped, investigated or arrested or a search is conducted, including the person’s race or ethnicity, the basis for any enforcement action, and documentation of reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
  • Requires supervisors to review all incident reports for completeness and compliance with CMU Police Department policies, and closely observe, monitor and evaluate the field practices of patrol personnel to ensure bias-based profiling tactics are not utilized.
  • Requires supervisors to take documented corrective measures when bias-based profiling is found, which may include additional training and/or disciplinary action, and will report such activity to the Chief of Police.
  • Requires an annual report of all stops and arrests to be compiled and submitted to the Chief of Police, who reviews the report along with any citizen complaints for compliance with the CMU Police Department impartial policing policy, and as a management tool to promote impartial policing, training and counseling of CMU Police Department personnel.
  • Requires the results of the Chief of Police’s annual review to be forwarded to an outside entity selected by the President’s Office for additional review.

Use of Force

  • Affirms the CMU Police Department’s policy that the use of force is a last resort to protect human life, and officers may only employ the amount of force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. 
  • Explicitly prohibits the use of unreasonable and unnecessary force, and requires officers witnessing a violation of the policy to intervene to end the force and to report such conduct to their immediate supervisor and the Chief of Police.
  • Requires officers, when safe and prudent, to maintain a safe distance, call for backup and utilize de-escalation techniques to gain voluntary compliance of subjects to reduce or eliminate the necessity of physical force.  
  • Requires in situations where the use of force is reasonable and necessary that officers use an escalating scale of options – a “force continuum” – and not employ more force unless it is determined that a lower level of force would not be, or has not been, adequate.
  • Restricts the use of deadly force to when the officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life or in defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.
  • Restricts the use of choke holds to only those limited circumstances in which the use of deadly force is warranted.
  • Requires an officer to warn the subject that deadly force will be used if they don’t comply with the officer’s orders, when possible and practical.
  • Prohibits officers from firing from a moving vehicle.
  • Restricts firing at a moving vehicle to circumstances when the occupants of a vehicle present an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to an officer or another person and such action will not endanger innocent members of the public; but, if the officer has another means of escape, firing at the vehicle is prohibited.
  • Prohibits the use of force once a person is restrained and under control beyond that which is necessary to retain control.
  • Requires immediate medical aid to be provided when the use of force results in injury or when it is requested by a subject in custody.
  • Requires the reporting of incidents involving the use of force, which will be reviewed and critiqued by a commanding officer with a report to the Chief of Police.
  • Requires a supervisor to conduct a review of any incident involving the use of deadly force or resulting in serious bodily injury or death, and to submit a General Investigative Report to the Chief of Police.
  • Requires an investigation of the use of deadly force by an officer that results in the death or bodily injury of any person to be conducted by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
  • Provides for the preparation of an annual analysis of all subject resistance reports and use of force incidents for review by the Chief of Police to ensure that all indicated training needs and policy modifications, if any, are implemented.