History

From the very beginning, the University of Pittsburgh Police Department has steadily progressed into a premier state of the art law enforcement agency. With the constant support of the university community, the police department has utilized educational and training opportunities to become a contributing and well-respected part of the community.

In the mid 1950's, the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, which is home to Pitt Campus, experienced the same problems as any other inner city neighborhood throughout the country. Vandalism, theft, and parking problems became a concern for the University, and so, the first Pitt Security Department was created. This small group of individuals became the foundation of what is now the University of Pittsburgh Police Department.

University Police Department 1963In the 1960's, the department dealt with unrest and other civil problems that plagued America. Like all campus police organizations, the University of Pittsburgh Police Officer's were often on the front lines of the conflicts and learned to deal with the students with fairness and authority. By the late 1960's, the university became a state related institution that eventually, in turn authorized police officers with the same powers and duties as Pennsylvania Capitol and Commonwealth Property Police.

In the early 1970's, the department was restructured and grew in number. Pitt's Department of Public Safety, as it was then called was recognized as the third largest police organization in Allegheny County. In 1974, the first acting Chief was named and the agencies official title became the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. Modernization was the theme of the department as computers and state of the art security systems became an integral part of police work.

Through the 1980's, the department continued to grow in terms of officers and equipment. At that time, the department went back to being titled the Department of Public Safety. Also in the 80's University Officer's teamed up with the City of Pittsburgh Police Department Officer's on an Impact Detail where highly visible foot beat officer's protected the campus community.

The 1990's again brought change as the agency went back to being the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. The organization was often on the cutting edge of police work and patrol functions. By early 1995, bicycle patrol officers hit the streets along with motorcycle units in April of 1997.

Perhaps the biggest change in the decade was the introduction of officer standards throughout the Municipal Police Officer's Training Act (ACT 120). Now, the university requires its officers to attend accredited Police Academies meeting the same standards as all Pennsylvania Municipal Police Departments.

Public Safety BuildingIn early of 2007 a new Public Safety Building was dedicated. The building reflects Pitt’s safety commitment to students, faculty, staff, and the Oakland Business community and neighbors that surround the University’s campus. The building brings safety operations together in one location, thus providing increased public accessibility and visibility of police and safety officials.

The building has state of the art campus wide security monitoring and command center with three dispatch desks and a bank of four 52 inch video screens that can display weather information, security camera video, dispatch, and call screens. Full integrated into the city and county 911 system, it will also serve as a command post during a major emergencies.

The building also has an emergency generator that powers campus safety systems such as the digital video surveillance, the building access system, and emergency dispatch operations connecting to the University data and telephone networks, support 24-7 operations. In case of a campus wide emergency, the building’s phone system can operate independently, allowing it to remain online as the key emergency contact center for the University.