- Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Your Rights & Police Procedures
The Duke University Police Department provides comprehensive law enforcement services for the Duke community. From special events to daily life, police and security officers patrol on foot, by vehicle and on bike every day of the year.
Duke police officers are commissioned under North Carolina General Statute and have the full range of police authorities granted any municipal law enforcement officer on property owned by and/or under the control of Duke University, including nearby streets and roadways.
At Duke, safety is a shared responsibility among students, faculty, staff and police. We offer these explanations to some commonly asked questions.
Duke Police & Security Officers
The hiring process is rigorous and multi-faceted. It includes graded role play exercises and scenario-based questions to assess an applicant’s interpersonal communication skills and concern for others. In addition to a thorough background investigation, the State of North Carolina requires a polygraph exam and psychological assessment. We also hire an outside firm to assess the emotional intelligence of all applicants, including factors such as social responsibility, empathy, impulse control, and optimism.
We exceed the annual training requirements for the State of North Carolina. We also enjoy a close relationship with Duke’s Office of Institutional Equity, which has provided training for officers in implicit bias and developed role play exercises around diversity and equity. Since 2013, we have trained all of our members in service excellence and de-escalation. The department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and close to its goal of having all officers certified in Crisis Intervention Training, a national, community-based approach to improving outcomes in police interventions involving mental health services. Additional information about our training and certification can be found here.
Duke police officers are University employees, commissioned by the state of North Carolina. They have authority to carry weapons, issue citations and make arrests just like municipal officers. Security officers are not typically armed and do not have authority to issue citations or make arrests. Duke has its own security squad and hires private security to supplement staff. Security officers patrol the university on foot, by bike and vehicle, and report suspicious activity to police officers.
Use of Force
Yes, see Use of Force Policy. The Duke University Police Department is committed to preserving and protecting all lives. Policing sometimes requires that officers need to exercise control of a violent or resisting person. We are committed to doing so while maintaining mutual respect and public trust.
An individual’s behavior is classified based on state definitions – Compliant, Passive Resistance, Active Resistance, Assaultive, and Aggravated Assaultive.
The policy specifies the officer’s response to an individual’s behavior. For example – no force is allowed if a person is compliant. A Taser may be used only if an individual is assaultive.
The policy meets recommendations of “Campaign Zero” and its project, “8cantwait.” Among other tenets, our policy requires officers to intervene and report if they see excessive force, and it emphasizes the sanctity of life and requires de-escalation before the use of physical force.
Body Worn Cameras
Yes. This speaks to accountability and education. Body cameras allow us to proactively review an officer’s performance and behaviors during interactions with the community. We hold individual officers accountable when their behavior does not meet our standards of service and integrity. Police cars are equipped with cameras, which automatically record when either emergency lights or sirens are activated.
- When you are on Duke property, you are required to present your DukeCard to any Duke police or security officers upon request.
- If you’re driving a vehicle, you must carry and produce a driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance upon request.
- If you are drinking or carrying alcohol, you must present identification that proves you are of legal age to drink.
Police officers may approach you to ask questions about a crime or other incident. Officers may not detain you for an unreasonable amount of time or take you anywhere against your will unless they have evidence to arrest you.
No. But if you refuse breath, blood or performance tests, your driver’s license could be suspended. Your refusal may be cited in court proceedings.
Property, Vehicle Searches
If officers have reasonable suspicion that you are carrying a weapon or illegal substance, they are permitted to “pat down” your clothing. Officers may also conduct a “pat down” for their safety or for the safety of others and may search you if you are arrested.
Officers may search a car without a search warrant if they have probable cause and information that a search will uncover evidence of a crime or illegal substance. If an officer requests permission to search your vehicle, you have the right to say no. If you decline, the officer may have probable cause to search without your consent or request a warrant to search your vehicle. Note: there are other times a search may be conducted.
Officers do not routinely patrol residence halls or office space, but they may enter office areas and common areas of residence halls from time to time to respond to a call for assistance or investigate and deter crime.
Under certain circumstances, officers may search your campus residence. You can give them consent to search, or if officers have probable cause to suspect a crime and you do not allow them inside, they may seek a search warrant, or possibly under other emergency situations.
If Charged With a Crime
You are encouraged to seek legal advice. An attorney can advise you of options, including the first offenders program or deferred prosecution for those with no previous criminal history. A directory of local attorneys and helpful information for selecting one may be found by contacting the North Carolina State Bar.
Disciplinary Action (Students Only)
The Office of Student Conduct is responsible for holding undergraduate students accountable for academic and non-academic violations of university policy, whether on or off campus. The Office of Student Conduct may initiate an investigation that could lead to university discipline even if you are not charged. Graduate students are governed by their individual schools. For more info, contact the Office of Student Conduct at email@example.com or (919) 684-6938.
Disciplinary action for a violation of the university’s alcohol policy will not be taken against students for whom medical assistance is sought, or against those who seek medical assistance for themselves or for others, provided that the student or group has not violated other university policies. If a student has been drinking and needs assistance or becomes a victim or crime, they can possibly qualify for “amnesty” and avoid university disciplinary action. However, amnesty does not preclude a police officer from taking enforcement action, though enforcement action is not typical in such situations.