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Under state law, University Police officers have the same enforcement powers and responsibilities as municipal police officers and county sheriffs. All officers must graduate from a state-approved police academy and pass a comprehensive field and firearm-training program. Most officers and supervisors have a bachelor's degree and some have advanced degrees.

We maintain close working relationships with the Evanston and Chicago Police Departments. Our officers have jurisdiction on city streets on and near campus.

What we do

We provide a full range of services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The department has the primary responsibility for crime prevention, law enforcement, parking control, emergency preparedness/response and security at special events. We also house the Office of Emergency Management and the Residential Security Program. 

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Investigate reported criminal incidents and conduct follow-up investigations.
  • File criminal charges and/or send referrals to Student Affairs, as appropriate. An overview on the nature of police stops and individual rights is available in the Understanding Police Stops guide.
  • Patrol the campus and designated jurisdictional areas near campus on foot, mountain bikes, T3 mobile units and squad cars, and make routine security checks of campus buildings.
  • Operate the department's Communications Center which involves responding to calls for assistance, monitoring the University Blue Light Police Emergency Telephones and closed circuit camera alarm systems, and serve as an informational resource for members of the Northwestern community and the general public.
  • Oversee and coordinate the use of video recording for safety and security purposes at the University. See the Video Recording and Surveillance Policy for more information.
  • Maintain working relationships with the Evanston and Chicago Police Departments, the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including joint investigation for major incidents.
  • Record officer activity for statistical analysis through the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. Calls for service are documented and evaluated to improve service.

See Community Services for a list of other programs specific to our University community.