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Campus Police in the Hot Seat, Schools Claim It's Not the Norm

Posted January 13, 1999

— In the past year, campus police officers have been in the hot seat. AtNorth Carolina Central University, a campus police officer claims she was sexually harassed by a co-worker.

A formerN.C. Statepolice officer is on trial in Wake County accused of sexually assaulting a student.

But schools say this is not the norm.

These situations do raise concerns about the role of campus police.

But you may be surprised to find out that most have solid law enforcement training and go through a rigorous screening process before they are hired.

Sgt. Jean Trevathan, who works atMeredith College, takes her job to heart.

"The screening standards in this company police program are stricter than some municipalities might have," said Campus Police Chief Michael Hoke.

Meredith College requires officer candidates to be drug tested, have a criminal background check and even take a polygraph test.

"We get a highly energetic, motivated man and woman fresh out of basic law enforcement training who wants to do very well on their first job in law enforcement," said Hoke.

Officers like the ones at Shaw University can make arrests on campus and on roads surrounding campus.

But they spend most of their time making sure the campus is secure.

"No one wants to work in an environment that is less than healthy and safe," said Dr. Ernest Pickens, Shaw University Vice President.

Shaw University also screens carefully for its police force. Red flags mean no job.

"If the person has a record, has been found guilty of certain types of infractions, we realize right away that this is not someone we want on this campus. We want someone that's going to set an example, to be a role model," said Pickens.

Campus police officers at state universities are state employees.

At private universities, they work for the school itself but are still governed by state laws and policies.


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