Three officers selected for University Police's first community-policing unit

January 26, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In an effort to further strengthen its relationship with the Penn State community, University Police and Public Safety has appointed three officers to serve in a new community-policing unit — the first of its kind at the University.

“As an organization, Police and Public Safety strives to be an integral part of the community, one that is engaged and widely trusted,” said Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety. “Community policing is a philosophy embraced throughout the organization, and this new unit is an exciting step to more formally lead our department-wide efforts.”

The Community-Oriented Policing Unit, as it will be known, will be led by Sgt. Monica Himes, a veteran of the department’s community-policing activities. Himes will be joined by two additional officers, Michelle Beckenbaugh and Adam Rawding, who have eight and 10 years of experience, respectively, with University Police. All three will officially begin their new roles on Monday, Feb. 5.

“Although we employ a department-wide community-oriented policing philosophy, we feel it is so important that we wanted to have a dedicated unit available for community engagement,” said Keith Morris, chief of police at the University Park campus. “Community policing was one of Monica’s many responsibilities, and due to the popularity of the various programming University Police provides, it was clear that in order to meet the demand we would need additional officers.” 

The unit will be visible at campus events, providing information about the department and the services it provides, and it will work closely with groups and organizations on campus to provide community programming, including active-shooter training, self-defense classes, and alcohol-awareness programs. It also will play an active role in recruiting as the department seeks to enhance the diversity within its ranks, and it will seek to foster the department’s positive relationship with State College Borough.

“One of the unit’s projects that I am most excited about is the resurrection of our internship program, which we will be working on closely with both the criminology department and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” said Morris.

Morris said the hope is that the officers in the new unit will become recognizable and visible figures on campus who are viewed as community resources, allowing the department to continue to build positive relationships and trust with the community.

“Community-oriented policing is a philosophy that utilizes strategies to foster positive relationships with the people we serve, and it truly is the backbone of our police department,” Morris said. “I’ve always believed that communication is the heart of community policing. Through communication there is understanding, which leads to some level of respect, which is required for the most important aspect, which is trust. When that trusting relationship is established, community members are more willing to work together with our officers in solving problems, which makes our community stronger.”

  • Monica Himes

    Sgt. Monica Himes will lead University Police and Public Safety's new Community-Oriented Policing Unit.

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Adam Rawding

    Officer Adam Rawding, a 10-year veteran of University Police and Public Safety, will serve on the department's new Community-Oriented Policing Unit. 

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Michelle Beckenbaugh

    Officer Michelle Beckenbaugh, an eight-year veteran of University Police and Public Safety, will serve on the department's new Community-Oriented Policing Unit. 

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated January 26, 2018