UMPD ensures that students always feel safe on campus
Somebody’s watching me: A UMPD officer observes the road for traffic infractions on the Coral Gables campus. The speed limit is 30 mph. Brittney Bomnin // Photo Editor

The University of Miami Police Department, or UMPD, is the on-campus police force responsible for the safety of all members of the UM community.

It is a fully functional police department that has all the responsibilities of a municipal police force.

Before making your way to the Coral Gables campus, UMPD has several tips for you to stay safe while you’re enjoying the best years of your life.

“Theft of unattended and unsecured property is the No. 1 crime on campus, accounting for 50 to 80 percent of all crime every month,” Crime Prevention Officer John Pepper said. “Personal property should be locked in a secured location or taken with you, but never left alone. Don’t create the opportunity for theft.”

Over 55 different crime prevention services and programs are offered by the department for students, including late-night safety escort services, Blue Light Phone Systems across campus which connect you immediately to the police and the Crime Stoppers Hotline.

But, what makes UMPD so unique and effective is not just its response times and prevention rates – it is unconventional thinking that makes the department so different.

“To keep in immediate touch with the university community, [UM Police Chief David] Rivero regularly meets with students one-on-one for lunch, Chief’s treat,” Pepper said. “The only catch is that students need to have one suggestion for how the UM Police Department can improve its policing, crime prevention initiatives, activities, services, programs or any other facet of the department.”

It also works closely with the university’s administration.

Tony Lake, associate dean of students and director of judicial affairs, works with UMPD on a regular basis in regards to students.

“Their staff and their officers are professional and helpful and are a respected part of the UM community. My advice to all students in working with any police officers, and especially our UM police officers, is simple: give them respect,” Lake said. “Our police, like any other, are doing our communities a service, and they have very demanding jobs; anything that we can do individually to make their jobs easier and our interactions with them more friendly is our responsibility as individuals.”

Because of their proximity to campus and their specialization in university safety, students also state that they feel safer on campus.

“I definitely think that I feel safer by having a university police force,” sophomore Jake Krupa said. “They can respond to incidents quickly because they’re always around. They’re also very helpful for us as students.”