The Lehigh University Police Department provides policing and security services to the Lehigh community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Police officers are responsible for patrolling all property owned and leased by the university. In addition to patrol, officers will respond to and investigate crimes and handle emergencies that are in progress or have already occurred.
The Lehigh Police Department is comprised of twenty-six full-time sworn police officers, eleven security guards, six dispatchers, a business manager and an IT specialist. Police officers are graduates of the Pennsylvania Act 120 Municipal Police Officer Certification Program (Act 120) and are authorized to enforce all of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and ordinances of the City of Bethlehem under Pa. C.S.A. §501 to serve as private police for the university. Lehigh Police have all of the authority of a police officer in this Commonwealth, in and upon, and in the immediate adjacent vicinity of, the property of the university.
The department is accredited by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association as well as by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). Lehigh’s Police Officers are fully trained and certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and they undergo a rigorous selection and background process and must also complete a field training program and probationary period. The University Police have and may exercise full police powers on campus and in the immediate vicinity of university property. A good working relationship exists between University Police, the Bethlehem Police, and state and other local departments.
The primary function of the University Police Department is to aid in the success of the students at Lehigh. We accomplish this goal by having the goal of student success guide our actions. We strive to protect the welfare and safety of our students, faculty, and visitors. The preservation of law and order, the protection of property, the apprehension and prosecution of offenders, and the enforcement of policies are also important duties.
The Lehigh University Police Department consists of the AVP of Campus Safety, the Assistant Chief, one Captain, three Lieutenants, four Sergeants, eighteen Patrol Officers, six Police Dispatchers, a department Business Manager, two full-time Security Guards, and nine part-time Security Guards. The Department also has a police substation located at 3rd & New Street in Bethlehem.
In addition to the state-mandated training course, the department requires officers to have yearly CPR training, firearms training with twice-yearly re-qualifications, and training in issues relating to mental health, medical emergencies such as epileptic seizures, drug abuse, drunk driving, and many others.
Our department has implemented a training program called Fair and Impartial Policing.
The Fair and Impartial Policing concept was developed through research from Dr. Lorie Fridell, professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida. This training applies decades of research on human bias to the critical decisions law enforcement officers make every day. The training is designed to enhance the legitimacy of police departments with the communities they serve. Training consists of four modules:
1. Introduction to Fair and Impartial Policing - designed to engage officers in conversation about why fair and impartial policing is important; introduces the implications of the science of human bias on how we think about biased policing; and introduces officers to the training and encourages the participants to fully engage in their own learning.
2. Understanding Human Bias - presents the social-psychology research that provides the foundation of Fair and Impartial Policing; presents the science behind bias as a normal human attribute; articulates the fundamental concepts of the science of human bias; helps officers understand how unconscious or implicit bias works in the human mind; and helps officers realize the potential impact of bias on an officer’s perceptions and behavior.
3. The Impact of Bias Policing on Community Members and the Organization - helps members discover the impact of bias on community members and their organization as a whole; elicits a discussion on the importance of police legitimacy in a democratic society; helps officers discover potential threats to police legitimacy; describes how procedural justice produces police legitimacy; and discusses the role of fair and impartial policing in producing procedural justice and thus, policing legitimacy.
4. Skills for promoting Fair and Impartial Policing - helps officers apply skills for reducing and managing their biases; and discusses the organization’s policy regarding the use of race, ethnicity, and other demographics when carrying out law enforcement actions. (Additional training for supervisors is provided for them to identify bias based behaviors on the part of their employees).
Ongoing in-service training is varied and all-inclusive to ensure we receive the most current training available in law enforcement, medical response, and other related areas. We intend to keep the level of professionalism at its highest within the department and to constantly seek new and better ways to serve the Lehigh community.
Lehigh University Police Department reports all crimes to the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System (UCR), which is compiled by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Research and Development. In addition, Lehigh University Police reports annually to the Department of Education as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Reports are also shared, if requested, with local Police Departments.