University Police Strives to Follow the Golden Rule
University Police Chief Pat Rascoe has his eye on the prize of more community-based policing.
That doesn’t mean UP officers patrolling the neighborhoods of the City of Plattsburgh, although UP lends a hand when the city PD needs it.
“Community policing is simply working with the community,” Rascoe said. “It requires multiple positive contacts between community members and police officers, outside of police enforcement responsibilities, to get to know each other as individuals, understand each other, develop friendships, and build trust that we have the public's best interest in mind,” Rascoe said. “If you don’t have the trust of the people you’re serving, you’re getting nowhere.”
The City of Plattsburgh native and retired City of Plattsburgh lieutenant began formulating a set of vision and value statements last January.
“We never had that,” he said. “I wanted something that was succinct and understandable, something that would take us in a new direction.”
That direction takes UP through the campus community with the help of the following vision and values:
- To make our community feel safe and provide a level of service that exceeds their expectations
Through accountability and innovation, appearance and conduct, we are committed to consistently providing the highest level of progressive law enforcement services to the campus community.
All members of the University Police Department are committed to helping members of the campus community, solving problems, preventing crime, and promoting a sense of safety and security.
Recognizing the various challenges of everyday life, University Police will strive to deliver services with empathy and understanding.
All members of the University Police Department will conduct themselves with honesty and uncompromised adherence to moral and ethical principles and values.
University Police will enforce the laws of the state of New York and the regulations of the State University of New York in a manner that is fair and just. We are committed to ensuring that every citizen will be treated with equality, dignity, fairness, and respect.
It’s what he calls “Golden Rule” policing: “Treating others the way you want to be treated,” he said.
“I am very lucky to be leading a department of officers who truly do care about our students. Many attended college here, and many have children of their own. It's not a difficult leap to be able to relate to our students and what they go through.”
That includes recognizing that college is very stressful on students who are living away from home for the very first time, developing new friend groups, learning to deal with difficult social situations, alcohol and more, Rascoe said.
HEERF Grant Funding
To that end, University Police was included in a federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grant aimed at covering the costs of additional mental health services provided through the Student Health and Counseling Center.
Part of the $400,000 received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will be used for training, “which includes recognizing, and effectively dealing with persons suffering from mental health crises, and developing strategies for assisting them, outside of mental health custody and evaluation,” Rascoe said.
“Pressures surface regularly on college campuses, and students sometimes need extra assistance,” he said. “University Police are available 24 hours a day to respond to students in crises and provide access to services that can help them with their issues. Many times, just talking through the situation is all that is needed.”
Students in crisis can reach out to University Police at 518-564-2022 or to the Student Health and Counseling Center at 518-564-2187.
“It would be easy to just do our jobs enforcing laws and policy, but we have an opportunity to do so much more, and we all benefit from it,” Rascoe said. “My officers' lives are fulfilled knowing they are helping people, and the campus community benefits from the help they provide. Extra is not always easy, but things that are worth it rarely are,” Rascoe said.