The University’s Department of Public Safety and the Princeton Police Department have reached a formal agreement on their operating procedures, which includes increased communication between the two departments, coordinated training efforts and clarified jurisdictions for each department.
The agreement will codify practices that have already been in place for some time and does not represent a shift in policy, Public Safety Director of Operations Stefanie Karp explained.
Princeton Police Captain Nick Sutter, who iscurrently acting chief of the department, said the agreement is a strategic document that will not be made available to the public. While the intentions of the agreement were publicized in a press release issued by the University on Thursday, officials interviewed did not disclose the specific details of the terms reached.
The agreement was made to establish mutual investigative support and increase effectiveness in collaboration and communication across the two departments. The agreement essentially clarifies existing procedures and outlines responsibilities for each department, Sutter said.
“You will see no change at all in the public,” Sutter explained.
With regard to jurisdiction, Public Safety will no longer respond to incidents reported on University property outside its main campus, such as the graduate student residencies north of Nassau Street.
The responsibilities and procedures described in the document are compatible with each department's current operations.
Sutter said the document requires the two departments to meet periodically throughout the year.
The agreement encourages “tremendous communication,” he said. “It’s a comprehensive document that establishes who assumed primary status on certain investigations. It’s a very collaborative model. It’s not exclusionary.”
The agreement includes collaboration on the two departments’ “uniform crime reporting responsibilities,” Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Ominsky said.
“When incidents happen on campus, we have a responsibility to collect the data and submit it to the state police, which actually gets into the FBI annual crime report,” Ominsky said.
The agreement includes discussion on how those statistics are to be reported in order to prevent both departments from reporting the same incident, which could result in “double-counting” of crimes.
“It’s a little more than a formality,” Ominksy said. “We are saying to each other that we are going to actively work together. We are really committing to a partnership.”
Karp explained that with respect to training of officers, the departments plan to share resources, including instructors with different areas of expertise, facilities and exercises, such as the practice of response protocol.
Overall, the agreement will provide clarity to officers on and off campus about their day-to-day responsibilities, Ominsky said.
“It’s an agreement to work together, to train together, to think about the safety and security of our respective communities together,” he said.
Associate News Editor for Enterprise Marcelo Rochabrun contributed reporting.