How should one interpret the presence of “real police” vs. “campus police” at an institution? This is becoming more and more of a concern for students and their parents as they tour college campuses. At some schools, campus police consist of a few friendly faces that might shut down your party if the music is too loud, or give you a ticket for an expired parking pass. They have been known to place students in front of the conduct committee for serious offenses, such as underage drinking. What might be even more impressive is the fact that they actually, sometimes on a first name basis, communicate with students and make an effort to create relationships. At other schools, the campus police carry badges, guns, pepper spray, and handcuffs. They have patrol cars, rarely smile, and are trained to refrain from making friends with students.
On one hand, some will argue that having real police makes them feel safer, knowing that they can actually count on officers with badges and real guns to come to their rescue, if ever needed. On the other hand, mainly for prospective students/families, the argument is, having a presence of real police on campus must mean that the campus is unsafe; otherwise, the normal college security would suffice.
Which would you prefer on your campus, state police or campus security; and why?