The mission of the University Police Department is to provide an environment of safety and security which ensures a peaceful quality of life in the university community by establishing collaborative partnerships with students, faculty, staff and visitors.
In June 2020 the Police Use of Force Project identified eight key policies which are believed to heavily influence the force used by police departments. These policies are referred to as #8Can’tWait. Here is how the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department’s policies and procedures meet objectives of the #8CantWait campaign.
UNLPD policy requires officers to use de-escalation techniques during all use of force incidents. Officers are to use verbal communication to help minimize confrontations prior to and during use of any force.
Require Use of Force Continuum
UNLPD utilizes a force continuum that is based on responding to the threats or danger posed by others. Use of force can only be used when the level of resistance or danger posed by a subject warrants its use.
Duty to Intervene
UNLPD employees shall immediately intervene if they observe a UNLPD employee or another public safety associate using unreasonable and/or excessive use of force.
All UNLPD employees are required to report incidents involving suspected excessive force and any violation of related departmental policy, state or federal law or local ordinance to a supervisor.
Require Comprehensive Reporting
All personnel are to report any use of force to their supervisor immediately. A written report must be submitted whenever deadly force or less-lethal tactic is used, if any action resulted injury or death, or when hard empty-hand (weaponless) techniques are used.
The report is reviewed independently by a supervisor and administrative personnel to determine compliance with policy and law, identify areas of improvement or change in policy, and if corrective action is necessary.
An annual review analysis of all use of force incidents is also done to determine trends or patterns and identify any changes needed in training, department policies, and/or equipment.
Ban Chokeholds and Strangleholds
UNLPD policy and Nebraska state law prohibit the use of chokeholds or cutting off a person’s air supply unless extreme circumstances are present that necessitate deadly force to protect human life or prevent serious bodily injury.
Require Exhaustion of All Alternatives Before Shooting
Deadly force is an option only when all other means have been exhausted or would clearly be ineffective. It is only authorized when it is objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstances that a person currently has the means to inflict death or serious physical injury, and the deadly force is in defense of human life or serious bodily injury.
Require Warning Before Shooting
Unless doing so would increase the danger to others such as an active shooter situation, UNLPD officers are required to give a clear verbal warning prior to using deadly force. UNLPD incorporates this requirement into continuous officer training.
Ban Shooting At Moving Vehicles
Shooting at a moving vehicle is ONLY permitted when an UNLPD officer believes imminent death or serious physical injury will result if they do not shoot, if they can clearly identify an assailant and if there is no substantial danger to innocent passengers, other motorists, or bystanders.
Our Policing Philosophy
We are responsible to the UNL Community and the public.
- Supervisors conduct quarterly reviews of body worn and in-car video footage to ensure both lawful and professional performance.
- Officer candidates must pass a stringent pre-employment process – written application, physical testing, several rounds of interviews and complete a lengthy document covering all facets of personal history. A job offer is also dependent on the candidate successfully completing a physical exam, polygraph test and psychological testing.
- UNLPD encourages feedback from the community. Complaints or concerns about officers or other department personnel can be filed here. The department reviews and investigates each report. These internal investigations can result in improvements to department procedures or policies and intervention with an employee.
- Use of Force incidents are documented and reviewed by the on-duty supervisor. The incident is then reviewed by command staff for adherence to policy, and an annual review of all use of force incidents is conducted to identify patterns and/or concerns.
- Through UNLPD’s Personnel Early Intervention System, any pattern of situations or significant incident involving an employee is reviewed and any concerns are addressed. These incidents include use of force, weapons drawn, pursuits or fleeing vehicles, and improper use of leave or excessive tardiness.
Professional Development & Training
We believe in professional development of all employees to enhance our level of service to the University Community.
- Officer recruits complete 16 weeks of live-in academy instruction at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center and an additional 12 weeks of field training.
- Officers and dispatchers are required to take annual training and development in the areas of implicit bias, Title IX and victim services, mental health, legal updates, in addition to defensive tactics and firearms including practice scenarios involving decisions.
- UNLPD continuously reviews our training to specifically look for areas of possible improvement.
- UNLPD partners with local law enforcement agencies to increase knowledge and experience in areas including crime scene investigations, narcotics, and K-9.
Policies & Written Directives
We are guided by comprehensive and accredited policies that are periodically reviewed to comply with the law and the constitution and to promote accountability and trust.
- UNLPD is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA).
- Officers and all employees are required to report violations of policy or of a person’s rights to supervisors or command staff.
- Officers are to decrease the level of force immediately when it is no longer necessary to effect an arrest or protect the safety of others.
- UNLPD protects First Amendment Rights during lawful demonstrations or protests.
- UNLPD does not collect information of persons involved in lawful exercise of constitutional rights.
We believe in a community policing-oriented approach through relationships with those we serve to collectively problem solve and enhance safety on campus.
- A Community Service Officer (CSO) is dedicated to each residence hall for enhanced engagement and problem solving with residence hall staff and students.
- An officer is assigned to work with the UNL Greek community to address shared issues and concerns.
- UNLPD works with the UNL Children’s Center to assist with their unique safety needs.
- UNLPD offers a Citizen's Police Academy as well as ride-along opportunities to members of the UNL community who are interested in learning more about our department.
- UNLPD works individually with various departments on campus to advance shared goals.
- UNLPD collaborates with the Center for Advocacy, Response & Education (CARE) to provide advocacy and support to students, faculty, and staff.