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The University of Kentucky Police have been serving our community since the early 1900's. What started as a night watchman service tasked with basic security, has now grown to be a full service police department.

In the early years, the night watchmen had the duty of simply locking doors and providing physical security. Until 1968, if assistance was needed, the operator was called who would then activate a red flashing light that was mounted on top of the Physical Plant building. Upon seeing this light the security officer on duty would go to a phone and call in to see what service was needed. The entire security department was located in a room in Peterson Service Building that was described as being not much larger than a broom closet.

In 1972, college administrators in Kentucky and nationwide noted that with rising crime rates and increased demands for services on and about campuses, the traditional guard services alone were not adequate in protecting campuses. In response there was push to pass laws that would give colleges the authority to establish campus police departments. In 1972, the Kentucky legislature enacted KRS 164.950 which gave all state public universities the power to create campus police agencies and also set out standards for being a campus police officer. Some of the standards at that time were more stringent than what was required by law for a city police department.

The Police Department was moved into new office space at Kinkead Hall in the early 60's, and in 1970 was moved to its current location at 305 Euclid Avenue, where the space was shared with the Parking Department. At that time the department was comprised of thirty sworn officers.

As the years passed by, the department slowly grew in numbers of officers and increased the types of services offered to the community. The Police Department began hosting classes in self defense, crime prevention, and instituted programs like Adopt-a-COPP and various other community service activities.

Even after all the growth, 1984 was the first time the department received new police cruisers. In previous years surplus vehicles were used to respond to calls and patrol the ever growing jurisdiction and population. By this time period it became mandatory that all officers attend the 20-week, Department of Criminal Justice Training Police Academy in Richmond, KY.

In 2007, the Parking Department was moved to its current location and 305 Euclid Avenue became solely Police Headquarters. The department now maintains a fleet of service vehicles which includes newer model police cruisers, transport vehicles, Harley Davidson motorcycles, golf carts and patrol bicycles. Currently the UK Police has an authorized strength of 64 sworn officers, in which and every officer has graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice Training Basic Officer Training Academy, which now is 20 weeks long. Though almost doubling in officer staffing levels, the University has grown exponentially. The University of Kentucky campus currently has a daytime population of around 60,000. 

The department has more than doubled in officer staffing levels over the years and has expanded its responsibilities to the campus community. In addition to patrol operations, UKPD is now tasked with safety and security of UK Chandler Medical Center, UK Good Samaritan Hospital, Eastern State Hospital, Crisis Management and Preparedness, and Event Management.