New York State University Police

New York State University Police
Common name State University Police
Abbreviation NYSUP

Patch of the New York State University Police
Motto Protecting New York's Future"
Agency overview
Formed 1999
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of New York, USA
Legal jurisdiction New York
Governing body State University of New York
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Buildings and lands occupied or explicitly controlled by the educational institution and the institution's personnel, and public entering the buildings and immediate precincts of the institution.
Operational structure
Police Officers Approx. 600
Agency executive R. Bruce McBride, Commissioner of New York State University Police
Parent agency State University of New York
Stations 29
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The New York State University Police (SUNYPD) 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.[1]

State University Police Officers 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 SUNY Albany lecture hall by a deranged gunman,[2] the "Bike Path Rapist" who killed a female student at the University at Buffalo[3] and the suspicious circumstances regarding the disappearance of a SUNY Albany student while on campus.[4] 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.


Operational overview

Officers receive their official powers through Education Law and Criminal Procedure law. These authorize a State University Police Officer 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.

Campus Public Safety Officers currently serve as communications specialists within the department, taking on the roles of desk officer, 911 operator, and dispatcher.[6] Security Services Assistant duties 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.[7]

SUNY Police bill

In 1999, the SUNY Police bill was signed. 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.

Training for new officers meets or exceeds the "New York State Department of Criminal Justice Standards for Police Officers". The "Police Officer Basic Course" includes training in:

  • 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 training each new officer completes a minimum twelve week on-the-job training supervised by a Field Training Officer from their respective campus.[8] Some campuses need to have better training for active shooters on SUNY College Campuses because there is no uniform way SUNY police deal with active shooters. Some college like SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam only have nine officers between the two campuses, but still other campuses have more officers still need better training and cooperation with local police departments where the campuses are located.[9]

Specialized units

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:

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.[15]

Recent developments

In 2010, the Stony Brook force became the second in NYSUP to become an accredited law enforcement agency by the New York York state department of Criminal justice services.[16] 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[17] and, again in 2008, to the SUNY Board of Trustees.[18] 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. Noncompliant stations included University at Albany, University at Buffalo, Binghamton University, Stony Brook University, SUNY Downstate Medical, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Old Westbury, SUNY Optometry, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Alfred State, SUNY Canton, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), SUNY Farmingdale State College, SUNY Maritime, SUNY Morrisville, and the SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT).

Campuses found underreporting crime statistics included Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Stony Brook University, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Buffalo State College, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Old Westbury, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Alfred State, SUNY Canton, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Farmingdale State College, SUNY Maritime, and SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT). The audit noted that SUNY Stony Brook did not report 48% of the index crimes that occurred at the University. In particular, several sexual assaults had been labeled "investigations" and were not disclosed to the community, as was required by law.[19]

Following the arrest in 2009 of three SUNY Geneseo students in relation to the death of a nineteen-year-old student,[20] it was revealed that the New York State Inspector General[21] was investigating the incident.[22] 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 SUNY Police to retire after 25 years. Prior to 2015, SUNY Police was the only state 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.[23]

See also


  1. "University Police Department". Stony Brook University. Stony Brook University. 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  2. James Dao (15 December 1994). "Gunman Terrorizes Students in Campus Siege". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  3. Adam Hojnacki (1984–2012). "The Quarter-Century Case". Generation. Sub-Board I, Inc. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  5. Stony Brook State University Police page
  15. "University Police Department: Criminal Investigations Unit". University Police. University at Albany. 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  16. "Press Release". Stony Brook University. Stony Brook University. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  17. Darson, Lauren (11 June 2007). "University campuses slow to beef up security". Legislative Gazette. The Legislative Gazette.
  23. Longobucco, Kerry (December 18, 2015). "Cuomo Passes Bill That Will Allow SUNY Cops to Retire After 25 Years". Fox 40 WICZ TV.
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