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Campus and Neighborhood Safety FAQs 2022

In response to University community concerns about safety on the Twin Cities campus and in nearby neighborhoods, the University has initiated many steps, including: 

  • Holding public safety forums in partnership with Minneapolis leaders including the first in July and the second on August 24. More information about the forums is below.
  • A multi-stakeholder Strategic Safety Advisory Committee meets weekly to enact swift solutions to enhance safety. 
  • We continue to welcome questions and comments from the community. The FAQ below reflects common themes from questions submitted already, and stakeholders are encouraged to continue to share their concerns through the form above. 

Safety Forums

UMPD

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I understand that the University of Minnesota Police Department is authorized for 71 officers (by 2023), but currently has fewer than 50. What are you doing to hire and retain new officers?

The University of Minnesota Police Department has faced the same challenges as law enforcement agencies around the country in hiring and retaining officers. To address this challenge, we are:

  1. Increasing pay. This must be collectively bargained with the union representing our officers. We have started that process. 
  2. Establishing a retention bonus paid annually. This must be collectively bargained with the union representing our officers. We have started that process.
  3. Adding two captain positions to provide officers more support and additional leadership.
  4. Hiring a dedicated recruiter to work with community groups and others to find new officers - The Office of Human Resources has assigned an individual on a temporary basis to assist with recruiting, but the long-term goal remains to have a dedicated resource within the Department of Public Safety. 
  5. Dedicating Human Resources support to advance new hires within the University of Minnesota System. Ten community safety officer positions have been posted.

What training does the UMPD provide for its officers unique to the student population?

UMPD officers are fully licensed Minnesota law enforcement officers, no different than any other law enforcement officer in the state. However, all UMPD officers receive specialized training in implicit bias, de-escalation, and mental health issues, which provides tremendous value as they engage with the University’s diverse population and are called on to help students and others struggling with mental health challenges. 

Do UMPD officers patrol and respond to situations off campus?

Yes. In fact, we have authorized significant overtime for UMPD officers to patrol neighborhoods and areas off campus in support of the Minneapolis Police Department, given MPD's reduced staffing. UMPD officers have always responded off campus in support of the Minneapolis Police Department when the most serious emergencies arise and UMPD will continue to do so. But we do not have sufficient numbers of officers to patrol and respond full-time to off-campus neighborhoods. UMPD was established and designed first and foremost to protect our on-campus community.

Does UMPD work with the Minneapolis Police Department?

Yes. The UMPD has always worked, and will continue to work, with all neighboring law enforcement agencies to protect our community. There has been no interruption in the degree of cooperation UMPD and MPD have with each other for emergency response, safety patrols, and crime investigations.

Do UMPD officers wear body cameras?

Yes, all UMPD officers wear body cameras and the recordings are saved per UMPD policy.

Where can I subscribe to crime updates from the UMPD?

Crime data are posted on the Department of Public Safety’s website.

SAFE-U/Clery Act

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What is a Clery geography and does it limit where UMPD can or will patrol?

The Clery geography is defined by federal law. The law defines a required public reporting geography for the University of Minnesota and all higher education institutions. It does not in any way limit where UMPD officers may go in response to an emergency.

For areas within the University’s Twin Cities campus Clery geography, we provide SAFE-U Alerts, via multiple channels, to our community. We are currently working with neighboring agencies to consider alerts for an area broader than current Clery Act geographic requirements in Minneapolis neighborhoods and off-campus areas, such as Dinkytown. But we must consider such expansion of public alert areas carefully because these neighborhoods are the primary responsibility of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Police Department and other agencies. We may not hear of or be directly involved in emergencies, and therefore may be unable to issue an immediate alert for those areas.

Dinkytown/neighborhoods

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Will traffic barriers be a strategy used in the Dinkytown/Marcy-Holmes neighborhood to restrict vehicle access?

Yes, the University worked with the City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works on the Dinkytown Safety and Pedestrian Access Pilot project, which installed traffic barriers on select street blocks in an effort to both calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety. However, we must balance this potential solution with businesses’ needs to maintain vehicle access for customers and suppliers, and public safety needs—particularly related to the Minneapolis Fire Department—to maintain emergency response access. We will keep you updated when the pilot is complete.

Will additional street lighting be installed in the Dinkytown/Marcy-Holmes neighborhood?

Street lighting off-campus is the responsibility of the City of Minneapolis. We have asked the City for additional lighting in off-campus neighborhoods and are awaiting the Mayor and City Council to fund our request. If you have further questions or wish to provide your input to the City, contact the Mayor’s office or the City Councilmember in the area that you are interested in.

Will the Safety Guides contract for Dinkytown be renewed for a second year? Are you going to expand the number of guides on duty?

We are currently working to negotiate a contract for a second year of the Dinkytown Safety Guides program.

Transportation safety

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What University resources are available to help a student safely travel from an on-campus location to their off-campus home or other location?

The University offers four options for getting between campus and off-campus locations. They include:

Gopher Chauffeur, which drives University students within a defined geography. We are adding an additional vehicle to the fleet and considering expanding this service to include additional hours and more drivers.

624-WALK, which provides safe walks. We are considering expanding this service to include additional safety escorts.

RAVE Guardian App, which provides a virtual safe walk and other safety resources. You may download this app to your phone and request a virtual escort by entering the location where you’re going and the time you expect to arrive there. You can invite friends and family to be your “social guardian” so they can monitor you along the way. If you don’t arrive at the destination as expected, your selected guardians and the Department of Public Safety will be alerted. Watch this video for more information.

Safety Guides in Dinkytown will also provide safe walks in that neighborhood.

Will the University install additional Blue Light Safety Kiosks on campus and off campus?

We do not have plans for additional Blue Light kiosks on campus. There are currently 40 emergency phones installed on the Twin Cities campus.

Recently, the University installed new Blue Light Safety Kiosks on University property that borders Dinkytown to provide immediate access to Dinkytown areas. We have plans to install two additional kiosks deeper into the Dinkytown/Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. Because this is not University property, the University must partner with the City of Minneapolis or property owners to install the kiosks and connect them to power and 911 dispatchers. This process is underway.

Learn more

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My student would like to have someone from UMPD speak to their residents, student group, or club about safety. Where can they go to schedule this?

Where can I find more information about safety on and around campus?

The University provides updates, safety tips, information about safety resources, and other information on our Safe Campus website. You can also find previous safety messages and a listing of the safety resources for our neighboring communities. We encourage you to visit this site often as it is updated frequently.

Where can I track the progress of the University’s safety initiatives?