Campus Life

University Police remains in service; some procedures modified due to COVID-19

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Police remains in service during the COVID-19 pandemic that is confronting the community. To help keep our police officers healthy and in keeping with social distancing efforts during this time, the department has temporarily modified a few of its patrol procedures when responding to certain incidents and calls for service.

The department is fully committed to providing quality service and protection to the Penn State community.  These changes are in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and align with industry best practices. It is the department’s goal to return to normal operations as soon as the crisis has been mitigated. 

“We are fully committed to protecting and serving the Penn State community during this unique time, and our department has implemented measures to help keep our police officers healthy as they serve the community,” said Penn State Police Chief Joseph Milek. “We hope those we serve understand these measures are in place to allow our officers to continue to serve the Penn State community for the duration of this situation.”

Some of the changes the community can expect include: 

— To report an emergency at a Penn State campus, call 911. To report a nonemergency crime, use the department’s Report a Crime online form.

— University Police officers have been encouraged to reduce/limit contact with persons as a means of social distancing. The public may see a reduction in the amount of interpersonal interactions as well as the amount of time during any police contact. Police will maintain high-visibility patrols to deter crime on campuses.

— University Police will not respond to medical calls unless the situation is potentially life-threatening, or EMS personnel are requesting assistance. Police will not travel in an ambulance during a medical transport.   

— University Police dispatch may ask for additional details surrounding medical calls to help screen for potential infectious disease cases to guide responders.

— University Police will avoid transporting any nondepartmental persons to include escorts to limit exposure to other persons and avoid having to implement decontamination processes for the vehicle. 

— University Police will continue to provide individual key service calls, but only to persons authorized to be present in a building at the time of the call. Most of the University residence halls are closed and students will not be permitted access to these buildings except for the following reasons:

  • Predetermined circumstances identified in advance and in accordance with joint guidelines set by Residence Life, Housing and University Police.
  • The student has been given permission from the University to continue residing in the building and is unable to gain access.
  • A student needs to retrieve medicine, a pet, or government IDs necessary to facilitate travel.
  • Any circumstance deemed appropriate by the on-duty police supervisor.

For questions or concerns regarding these temporary changes, contact University Police. For contact information, visit

Last Updated August 06, 2020