Kent State Police Keep Community Safe While Engaging in Peaceful Discourse  

The university's No. 1 priority is the safety of its students, faculty and staff

Keeping Kent State students, faculty and staff safe with a high level of sensitivity is a priority that Kent State University Police Services strives for continuously. Officers are committed to listening, engagement and peaceful discourse as they endeavor to serve the Kent State community. 

This has been seen demonstrated over the past few months as the Kent State community has held demonstrations related to the Israel-Hamas war and other issues, such as abortion. 

“Our department's No. 1 priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” said Sgt. Tricia Knoles. “We train monthly on an array of different topics such as crowd control, de-escalation, cultural diversity, ethics and unbiased policing to assist us with keeping our community safe.”   


Kent State is among the nation's safest college campuses.

In addition to the training previously stated, Kent State police train (and memorize) the five moral standards of policing: 

  • Fair Access.
  • Public Trust. 
  • Safety and Security. 
  •  Teamwork. 
  •  Objectivity. 

With all this training and experience at play, Kent State continues to be one of the nation’s safest college campuses when compared to others with similar populations and geographic areas, according to Kent State University's Annual Security Report and Fire Safety Report. The university is proud to be a model for innovative safety education programs, including a residential security program with a student security escort service. 

Kent State Police Services was the first university police department in Ohio accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., and it is the only university police department in the country to receive Flagship status by the commission a record three times. 

Kent State is among the nation's safest college campuses.

Safety services must use an increased level of sensitivity to deal with demonstrations, protests and vigils that are frequently held on campus because emotions tend to run high at these times. 

“We as police officers must remain unbiased and unopinionated regardless of the topic,” Knoles said. “We are solely there to keep the peace and protect the First Amendment during these events.” 

During times when there are large events, some of which may be charged by political issues that filter down to university campuses from the national and international level, Kent State police add additional units to staff that is already working 24/7 to keep campus safe, Knoles said. There are also mutual aid agreements with the city of Kent, Brimfield Township and the Portage County Sheriff's Office.  

“This means that if needed, we can have several agencies respond at a moment's notice,” Knoles said. 

Anyone facing an active threat to their safety should contact campus police at 330-672-2212 on the Kent Campus or their local law enforcement agency if they are on a Regional Campus. 

Anyone interested in holding a student event must submit a form to the Division of Student Life before the event.

Photos by Bob Christy

POSTED: Thursday, December 21, 2023 09:40 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 24, 2024 08:40 AM
April McClellan-Copeland