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BEHIND THE BADGE: University of Arizona's police department

Posted at 4:54 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 00:58:14-05

Their job is to keep the University of Arizona's campus safe. Tonight we go behind the badge of the university's police force.

This small police department covers about a square-mile-radius. The University of Arizona Police Department's primary patrol boundaries are Campbell Ave. going east, Euclid Ave. to the west, 8th Street to the south, and Lester Street to the north.

"We're essentially a small town, you know, within the larger metropolitan Tucson area," said Corp. Colin Keating, with the UAPD.

Keating has worked for UAPD for two-and-a-half years. He says there are close to 50,000 people on campus each day. About 35,000 are students, and the remaining 15,000 are staff and faculty.

"There are 65 officers that are here, it can sometimes make that a little bit challenging," said Keating.

What's even more challenging, is when UA has a game. Unit officers are specially assigned - many earning overtime. And this takes a big chunk of the force off campus patrols.

"During football games we have a large contingent of our officers, upwards of 20-25 of our 65 officers that are specifically working the football game. And with the remaining officers, we still have to maintain normal patrol coverage," said Keating.

Working in 10 hour shifts, there are at least three officers on patrol per shift. Keating, works swing hours from 3:30 p.m. To 1:30 a.m., and answers an average of six to 10 calls per shift.

"During the day, we have more officers, or more officers on that are available that could respond to something," said Keating.

On weekend-nights, there is a wider-range of calls, from party noise complaint to car break ins, and intoxication.

Keating says he's here as a resource to students, he wants to foster good relationships with them. Before Keating joined UAPD, he was at Pima Community College Police Department for four years. His philosophy: to be in partnership with all of the students and faculty to make UA a safe space.

"I like the community policing model we have here at the University of Arizona. We're fairly compact, and fairly concentrated here, but I think it gives us a little bit more ability to dedicate and spend some more time with addressing issues that may be a problem on the campus," said Keating.

Police officers are in high demand nationwide. The UAPD is currently working to hire more officers to protect the campus.