Online mentions around university police departments more than doubled this week due to several campus incidents including a missing-person case at Louisiana State University and University of Minnesota police being deployed during an off-campus protest following the police killing of Daunte Wright.
With national conversations taking place about policing more broadly, university police forces, including those at LSU and the University of Minnesota, have not been immune to calls for increased transparency. We take a look at some of the trends from the past six months.
By the Numbers (Last 6 Months):
- There have been over 12K mentions of university or campus police in TV and radio coverage
- There have been over 181K mentions of university or campus police among AAU schools, with 34% of that conversation being negative
- Online mentions of the topic have steadily increased (see below)
Top Online News Coverage (Last 6 Months):
- UAH president: Campus police will change after Black teen was allegedly asked if he had crack, dead prostitute (7.4K Engagements)
- Florida State University Democrats Group Demand Disarmament Of Campus Police -The Police Tribune (7.2K Engagements)
- VICTORY: Student stopped by campus police for holding up a sign settles First Amendment lawsuit with Mississippi college (4.7K Engagements)
- Talladega College appoints first female campus police chief in its history (4.6k Engagements)
- Tufts University police officers save the day for cancer patient having trouble parking her SUV (937 Engagements)
- Bloomsburg University Police Dept. accredited by Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (345 Engagements)
Source: Brandwatch + BuzzSumo
Police forces, including those with university affiliations, are increasingly looking to build trust and goodwill by telling stories of positive community impact. Similarly, they are looking to educate the public on training processes and education initiatives in anticipation of criticism amid heightening tension.
In one notable example, West Virginia University released a Q&A around its University Police answered by the WVU police chief. The Q&A highlighted things such as the amount of onboarding and training University Police officers receive and how officers work closely with WVU’s Psychological and Psychiatric Services Department to better understand how to handle or de-escalate certain situations on campus.