Campus Life

Undergrads earn real-life police experience

Written for The Argo by Scott Klenk

Working side by side with campus police, Community Oriented Patrols for Students (COPS) offers undergraduates the opportunity to gain real-life policing experience. This part-time position gives students the flexibility to work and learn during their time at Stockton. 

COPS is a paid student worker position that acts as a second set of eyes and ears for the campus police department. These individuals observe and report suspicious activity, conduct regular foot patrols for the university, and provide various security services. You may also recognize these students cruising around in their white cars on their parking enforcement rounds. 

“As a COPS, my day usually consists of conducting parking enforcement and engaging in a community patrol,” explained senior Criminal Justice student, Melinda Ogando. “every day, I get to see and/or experience something new. I want to have a career in law enforcement and I feel like being a COPS is a great way to see if this is truly the field of work that I want to be in.” 

While walking us through a “normal” shift, Ogando spoke of her experiences that ranged from giving students directions to responding to campus traffic incidents. She also noted that it was a convenient position that allowed for flexibility around her studies. 

“The resources I have been given while working with the SUPD will benefit immensely when it comes time for my career applications,” stated Ogando. Before being issued a uniform, students were extensively trained in a variety of patrol operations aimed at campus safety. 

While these students do not participate in the same duties as sworn law enforcement officers, they are issued uniforms and closely collaborate with the officers on campus. They are not to be confused with Allied Universal, a security service contracted by Stockton seen patrolling in yellow. 

This position is available to all students currently enrolled in the School of Criminal Justice or a related program. Students must be at least a sophomore and successfully pass an application and background check.

“If you’re a criminal justice major and aren’t too sure about what you want to do after Stockton, this is definitely a program that you would want to be a part of,” Ogando said. 

More information is available at Students are also encouraged to reach out to the COPS program coordinator, Lt. Tracy Stuart at or 609-652-4390.