University Police: Authority and Jurisdiction
Becoming a University police officer
Officers begin their career at the University of Scranton by completing an application at the University Human Resources Office. The applications are reviewed and candidates who meet department requirements are invited to an oral board Those who pass move on to physical agility testing and an extensive background investigation. Successful candidates then must complete medical and psychological examinations. Finally, a potential officer must successfully complete firearms qualifications.
After completing the pre-employment testing, a successful candidate is hired and begins a six month probationary period but the newly-hired officer is not a University Police Officer until he or she is appointed by and has sworn an oath of office before the court.
University Police Officers are appointed by the Court of Common Pleas by way of an application to the court requesting appointment.
University police officers are eligible to be appointed via Pennsylvania Title 22, Pa.C.S.A. Detectives and private police, Section 501 (a), which states,
"Any nonprofit corporation...maintaining any buildings or grounds open to the public... may apply to the court of common pleas of the county of the registered office of the corporation for the appointment of such persons as the corporation any designate to act as policemen for the corporation. The court, upon such application, may by order appoint such persons, or as many of them as it may deem proper and necessary, to be such policemen."
The officer must appear before a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and be sworn to become a University police officer.
The oath of office
"Every policeman so appointed shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take and subscribe the oath required by the sixth article of the Constitution of the State of Pennsylvania. Such oath, together with the decree and order of the court, shall be recorded by the recorder of deeds of each county in which it is intended that such policemen shall act."
All of our officer swear this oath, taken from article VI of the Pennsylvania Constitution, to become University police officers:
"I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity."
Currently, University officers have the honor of being sworn by University of Scranton Alumni, Judge Vito Geroulo. At the completion of the ceremony, the officer is officially recognized by the state as a sworn University of Scranton police officer. University police officers have the same authority as municipal officers while within their jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction and Authority of University police officers
University police officer jurisdiction is defined by Pennsylvania Title 22, Pa.C.S.A. Detectives and private police, Section 501 (c), which states,
"Such policemen, so appointed, shall severally possess and exercise all the powers of a police officer in this Commonwealth, in and upon, and in the immediate and adjacent vicinity of, the property of the corporation."
While University officer jurisdiction is limited to "the immediate and adjacent vicinity," Pennsylvania courts have ruled circumstances can extend this jurisdiction. Such circumstances include "Hot pursuit," when an officer is actively pursuing a suspect. When in doubt, University officers will request Scranton Police assistance or intervention.
Pennsylvania laws have changed frequently recently regarding jurisdiction of campus police. This site will be updated to reflect new case law and legislative changes that affects the jurisdiction and authority of The University of Scranton police department.