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Police Contact- University Officer or Municipal Officer- Does It Matter?

University or Scranton Police- do they look the same?

University police uniforms include French blue shirts, black pants and a black coat. University police patches include a rocker that states "Police Officer" and a patch with the words "University of Scranton Public Safety." University police vehicles have the words, "University Police" on the sides.

Scranton Police uniforms are generally dark blue. Ranking officers have white shirts and beat officers can have yellow shirts. Scranton Police patches contain the words "Scranton Police Department."

Scranton Police Vehicles are white with blue lettering, except the "wagon," which is used for prisoner transport. The wagon is black and is not known for its comfort or atmosphere.

University or Scranton Police- Jurisdiction

Scranton Police have jurisdiction throughout the entire city of Scranton. University police have jurisdiction on University property and in the immediate vicinity of University property.

University Police may intervene when observing criminal activity or at the request of Scranton Police. University and Scranton police cooperate in investigations whenever possible.

Stopped By University Police?

University police can detain an individual believed to have committed, are planning to commit or are committing a crime if the officer has probable cause. If charges are warranted, the officer has the option of processing the charges through Student Affairs and also through the State of Pennsylvania. Any arrest through the State of Pennsylvania will also be processed through Student Affairs.

If an individual fails to produce identification or refuses to identify themselves, the individual will be detained until they can be identified. If the individual is not a University student, the individual, including University guests, can be charged with Trespassing. Providing false identification to officers in the course of an investigation is a crime. Having false identification (ID not belonging to the individual) is a crime. Both crimes will result in charges for the individual.

Under the Supreme Court decision, "Terry v. Ohio," officers may "frisk" a detained individual for concealed weapons. Any individual arrested will be subject to a complete search prior to transporting the individual.

If an individual is stopped for a suspected alcohol violation, the officer will determine, through conversation, body language and field sobriety testing, whether an individual should be released, processed through Student Affairs or cited. If the officer determines an individual may be at risk to themselves, due to a high level of intoxication, the officer can request that the individual take a PBT (Preliminary Breath Test).

Individuals can refuse a PBT but the refusal will be recorded and included in the incident report. Individuals will be advised of their PBT reading. 

Individuals judged too intoxicated to be released may be taken to the County Processing Center and held until deemed sober enough to release, released into the custody of a sober person over the age of 18 or transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Individuals under the age of 18 (minors) who are found to be intoxicated will be held until a guardian can take custody.

Stopped By Scranton Police?

Scranton police can detain an individual believed to have committed, are planning to commit or are committing a crime if the officer has probable cause. If charges are warranted, the officer will arrest the individual. Student Affairs is notified of student arrests by Scranton Police.

If an individual fails to produce identification or refuses to identify themselves, the individual will be detained until they can be identified. Providing false identification to officers in the course of an investigation is a crime. Having false identification (ID not belonging to the individual) is a crime. Both crimes will result in charges for the individual.

Under the Supreme Court decision, "Terry v. Ohio," officers may "frisk" a detained individual for concealed weapons. Any individual arrested will be subject to a complete search prior to transporting the individual.

If an individual is stopped for a suspected alcohol violation, the officer will determine, through conversation, body language and field sobriety testing, whether an individual should be released or cited. If the officer determines an individual may be at risk to themselves, due to a high level of intoxication, the officer can request that the individual take a PBT (Preliminary Breath Test).

Individuals can refuse a PBT from a Scranton officer, unless the individual is stopped for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Refusal to take a PBT after being stopped for suspicion of DUI may lead to loss of your drivers license.

Individuals judged too intoxicated to be released may be taken to the County Processing Center and held until deemed sober enough to release, released into the custody of a sober person over the age of 18 or transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Individuals under the age of 18 (minors) who are found to be intoxicated will be held until a guardian can take custody.

The University Police Officer Filed A Report?

If an individual is involved in an incident, there are two ways the report can be handled; through Student Affairs or through Student Affairs and the State of Pennsylvania.

If the incident is handled through Student Affairs, the individual will be contacted by Student Affairs. If the incident is handled through Student Affairs and the State of Pennsylvania, the individual will still be contacted by Student Affairs. The individual will also receive information from the State of Pennsylvania. This information will be sent to the individual's permanent address. Failure to respond to this contact may result in a warrant being issued for the individual.

Local Ordinances

There are several local ordinances (laws specific to the city of Scranton) that concern the University community. Several are listed below.

Noise Ordinance:

It is illegal to "Create a noise disturbance across any real property boundary."

In other words, if noise from an apartment is disturbing the neighbor in an adjoining property, the individual(s) creating the noise are subject to a citation. Students disturbing their neighbors are also subject to disciplinary action by the University.

Indoor Furniture Outdoors:

Indoor furniture cannot be used on porches or in yards. Any furniture without a weatherproof cover or finish will be considered trash. In other words, individuals can be cited for having a living room couch on their porch.

Trash/Litter:

Individuals who allow trash or litter to build up on their property can be cited for littering or having a disruptive apartment.

In other words, if an individual allows their trash to overflow or there is a party at the residence and the revelers litter the property or the neighborhood, the individual or individuals renting the apartment can be cited under the city's "Disruptive Tenant" statute (see "Landlord Licensing" below).

Open Container

It is illegal for an individual to possess or consume alcoholic beverages "In or upon any public sidewalk, street, lane, parking lot, park or recreation area or other public property within the city of Scranton..."

In other words, if an individual is found in a public place with an open container containing alcohol, that individual is subject to a citation by Scranton officers. Students found in a public place with an open container are also subject to disciplinary action by the University.

Landlord Licensing

Landlords are required to obtain a license from the city of Scranton to operate apartments. Apartments can be "Closed" (Occupants forced to vacate the apartment) for "Disruptive Conduct."

Disruptive conduct is defined as, "Any form of conduct, action, incident or behavior perpetrated, caused or permitted by any occupant or visitor of a rental unit that is so loud, offensive or riotous or that otherwise disturbs other persons of ordinary sensibility in their peaceful enjoyment of their premises such that a report is made to the Scranton Police Department complaining of such conduct, action, incident or behavior. It is not necessary that such conduct, action, incident or behavior constitute a criminal offense, nor that criminal charges be filed against any person, occupant or visitor in order for a person, occupant or visitor to have perpetrated, caused or permitted the commission of the disruptive conduct..."

In other words, if Scranton officers are called to a disturbance at an apartment and a report is filed three times within six months, the apartment can be "closed," regardless of whether anyone is charged criminally.

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