Although University Police and Columbus Police Division have different jurisdictions, their boundaries are only 36 feet apart, which helps them work together to keep students, faculty and staff safe through collaborative off-campus patrol programs.
Their joint patrol involves one CPD officer and one University Police officer patrolling the immediate off-campus area on bikes from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., Scott Holbert, University Police’s sole joint patrol officer, said.
“Things happen on our side, and we need to let CPD know, and things happen on the CPD side for OSUPD to know,” Holbert said. “It is a great conduit for information-passing and to track crime trends on both sides, since we are in the middle of a major metropolitan area.”
The program began in 2008 to provide an additional resource to students, and the duty of the officers involved in this dual partnership is year-round, Dan Hedman, university spokesperson, said in an email.
Holbert said the officers mostly patrol the area between High Street and Fourth Street, but they know students live outside that area, and if a call comes in from a student past Fourth Street, they’ll respond.
The program is a way to connect students who are involved in off-campus crimes with Ohio State resources, Holbert said. Hedman added that having a University Police officer and a CPD officer work together allows officers to respond collectively.
“We understand that a lot of our students, faculty and staff live in that area, so one of the major reasons why this collaboration is important is if our students — for instance — are the victim of a crime, we at the university have a lot of resources to help them,” Hedman said.
Criminal Patrol, another joint patrol program between CPD and University Police, operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the Ohio State academic year, Holbert said. The program involves city and university police officers riding together in a police cruiser.
In addition to the joint patrol programs, a mutual aid agreement was made in 2012 between CPD and University Police that allows University Police officers witnessing a crime in progress to pursue a suspect into the immediate off-campus area, Hedman said.