Professional Conduct

The HUPD's relationship with the community is vital to achieve our mission. All community members should expect to be treated in a courteous and professional manner by members of the Department. Occasionally questions arise regarding professional conduct. The Harvard University Police Department does not tolerate employees who act unprofessionally or rudely, or who do not seek to provide an appropriate level of service. The quality of our service is dependent in part on feedback from the community, and the Department has an extensive process in place to respond to citizen complaints.

We also wish to recognize instances where our employees have been especially helpful or have exceeded your expectations in the service that they have provided. The community is encouraged to bring to the Department's attention both compliments and questions of professionalism by contacting one of the following individuals in a timely manner:

  • the on-duty supervisor at 617-495-1786 (available 24 hours a day)
  • the Office of the Chief at 617-495-1780 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm)

Additionally, community members can commend or make a complaint against an officer online. Community members may include their name and email address or do it anonymously. Anonymous complaints will be investigated but the investigation may be limited if the complainant is not available for followup questioning.

To commend an officer, click here.

To make a complaint against an officer, click here.

University Ombudsman Office

The University Ombudsman Office is open to the University Community: faculty, staff, students, fellows and retirees. The ombudsman is an independent resource for problem resolution and works to ensure that all members of the University community are treated equitably and fairly. The ombudsman is confidential, independent, and neutral. The ombudsman can provide informal assistance to help resolve issues related to the workplace, learning, and law enforcement environments. The Ombudsman Office is able to field concerns regarding a particular situation or incident, and can encourage and facilitate discussion and possible resolution among parties. An individual or individuals may want to discuss the issue with the ombudsman, meet with other parties, or file a formal complaint with HUPD. The ombudsman also works with senior administration and HUPD leadership to provide upward feedback for the institution and, based on reported concerns, may recommend changes in policy, practice, or training.

You may contact the Ombudsman Office by phone at 617-495-7748 or by email at university_ombudsman@harvard.edu. 

Citizen Stops

As part of our efforts to facilitate safety on campus, it occasionally becomes necessary for HUPD officers to stop members of the University community and ask for information. If an officer stops someone, it does not necessarily indicate that the person is a suspect. Cooperation in these interviews, usually by simply providing your name and proof of Harvard affiliation, assists the HUPD in promoting a safe and secure environment. We make every effort to be as sensitive and courteous as possible.

If you are stopped, you can expect the following:

  • That the interview be conducted courteously;
  • That the questioning be as brief as possible;
  • That an apology for the inconvenience should be made if appropriate;
  • That the officer identifies himself/herself by name and badge number when requested.