FAQs

What is the UCPD’s patrol area?

The UCPD is the primary police agency on the University of Chicago’s campus and University property, and also patrols an area that extends north to 37th Street, south to 64th Street, east to Lake Shore Drive, and west to Cottage Grove Avenue. Within the extended patrol boundaries (off campus and outside of University property), the UCPD serves in a supportive role with the Chicago Police Department as the area’s primary policing agency. 

Where does the UCPD derive its authority to patrol beyond the campus boundaries?

The Illinois Private College Campus Police Act authorizes the University of Chicago and other private higher education institutions in Illinois to appoint campus police departments. It is from this statute that members of private campus police departments in Illinois, including the UCPD, derive their authority to act as municipal peace officers on their campuses, University property, and contiguous public property. UCPD officers are also authorized as peace officers for an extended jurisdiction off campus in accordance with Chicago City Ordinance, most recently Ordinance O2011-7316. The City Council has expanded the UCPD’s jurisdiction to assist the Chicago Police Department with the needs of the communities surrounding the University. The measure was developed in response to community needs and requests from community leaders for the University to play a role in public safety and other issues of concern to residents.

The CPD is the primary police agency serving the communities surrounding the University’s campus. As a result, the CPD is the investigating agency for any incidents off-campus and maintains records pertaining to arrests made in these areas.

If a crime occurs on property not owned by the University, who should I contact for the police report?

The Chicago Police Department is the responsible policing agency for any incidents that occur off campus and on non-University owned property. If the UCPD is called in response to an incident that occurs off campus and not on University-owned property, but is within its extended patrol area, UCPD officers will respond to the scene and assist the CPD as appropriate. The CPD will write the police report, unless they ask the UCPD to do so.

What type of UCPD data and information is publicly available?

Sharing information on how the University of Chicago Police Department operates on campus and in neighboring communities is an important way that we foster a strong and trusting relationship with those we serve. The University provides information on UCPD activities through a variety of channels, including a daily crime/fire log. As of June 2015, the UCPD will provide expanded access to crime data, traffic stop information, field interviews, and arrest records upon request (more information will be made available soon), while also providing links to information available through other agencies such as the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of Transportation. The scope of the information that the University shares related to UCPD activities was determined after an extensive process of discussion and engagement with local residents, elected officials and members of the University community, and goes well beyond the requirements of Illinois law for police departments at private institutions.

Who oversees the UCPD?

UCPD leadership, which includes a chief of police and a command staff, oversees the department’s policies, crime prevention strategies, and community outreach efforts. Like other police departments, UCPD command staff sets the overall direction of the agency and supervisors guide officers in their day-to-day work.

The UCPD is part of the University of Chicago’s Department of Safety &Security (DSS). DSS is comprised of the University’s Transportation & Parking Services, Emergency Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Security Systems, Protective Services, and Professional Accountability offices. DSS is led by the Associate Vice President for Campus Safety & Security and is a part of the Finance and Administration Division, reporting to the vice president for operations and chief financial officer, who reports directly to the president of the University.

What kind of training do UCPD officers receive?

New police officers undergo a 16-week training program at the Chicago Police Department’s education and training academy. Incoming officers are also given instruction on ethics, diversity, and fair and impartial policing. Upon graduating from the academy, officers undergo a 12-week field-training program provided by UCPD officers and supervisors.

Every year, all of our officers receive ongoing in-service and video training. Last year, individuals vying to become University of Chicago police officers received more than 10,300 training hours while our current officers received more than 3,800 hours of formal training. 

As of 2015, officer training has been expanded and enhanced to include several new areas. This includes procedural justice training, which equips officers with tactics on fairness and professionalism; fair and impartial policing training, which helps officers better understand the nature of bias and how illegitimate police tactics such as racial profiling can have a corrosive effect on the communities they serve; and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, which teaches officers how to appropriately respond to persons undergoing mental illness or fatigue.

How are complaints investigated?

The Department of Safety & Security’s Office of Professional Accountability, reporting directly to the chief of police but not staffed by uniformed officers, is responsible for managing, conducting, and assigning internal affairs investigations, including sensitive internal investigations of employee misconduct, answering inquiries and minor complaints, and taking complaint reports.

Complaints regarding excessive force, violation of rights, verbal abuse, or dereliction of duty are reviewed by the Independent Review Committee (IRC). The IRC, which operates outside of and independent from the UCPD, is comprised of members of the community, students, faculty, and staff members. The IRC reviews complaints against the UCPD and evaluates their actions. When necessary, the IRC makes recommendations regarding UCPD policies and procedures. A committee report of all incidents and recommendations is given annually to the President, Provost, and Vice President for Operations & Chief Financial Officer, and is available to the campus and community. A full explanation of the complaint process can be found at safety-security.uchicago.edu/police/contact_the_ucpd/complaint_process.

How do I file a complaint with the UCPD regarding officer conduct?

The UCPD expects its officers to treat every member of the public fairly, professionally, and with respect. Complaints from the public regarding the conduct of our officers are taken very seriously and are thoroughly investigated.

Those who choose to file a formal complaint are required to sign a sworn affidavit attesting to their claim. Complaints can also be provided in the following ways:

• Call the Emergency Communications Center at 773.702.8181 any time, day or night, and ask to speak to the shift supervisor
• Complete the online complaint form
• To file a complaint in person, go to UCPD headquarters, located at 850 E. 61st Street. Headquarters is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week

What if I do not have a formal complaint, but I would like to provide general feedback, thank an officer, or pass along a compliment?

We encourage people to let us know if they feel our officers exceeded expectations or if an officer was particularly helpful. You may call the department at 773.702.8181, complete the feedback form, email us at cops@uchicago.edu, or simply visit us at our headquarters.

Updated February 7, 2017