Image of Smiling Police Officer on a Sunny Day

The mission of the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) is to maintain a safe and secure campus by providing quality policing in partnership with the community. The HUPD pursues this mission within the University context of free expression, rigorous inquiry, vast diversity, and pursuit of distinction. The HUPD honors these traditions and seeks success by means that are moral, constitutional, and respectful of individual rights and community interests. HUPD's headquarters is located at 1033 Massachusetts Avenue, on the sixth floor.

The HUPD is responsible for the safety and security of more than 19,000 students, 14,000 faculty and staff members, and 700 buildings in an open and accessible environment.

The HUPD is a full-service police department (comprising a Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and Dignitary Protection Unit) that includes police officers, detectives, civilian communication dispatchers, and support and administrative personnel.

Some core functions of the Department are: responding to criminal incidents; checking on the well-being of students, faculty, and staff; responding to disturbances; providing escorts; taking reports of lost and stolen property; responding to lockouts; investigating suspicious activity; responding to alarms; and investigating trespassers or unwanted guests.

The statutory authority of Harvard University Police Department officers to arrest for criminal offenses committed in or upon lands or structures owned, used, or occupied by Harvard University is granted under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 22, Section 63 and as deputy sheriffs of Middlesex and Suffolk counties. HUPD officers are sworn special State Police officers with deputy sheriff powers; this gives them the authority to respond to any crime on campus and any "breach of the peace" on city streets in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston. Officers receive the same academy training as officers from Cambridge. With the exception of certain crimes, such as a homicide, the HUPD has primary jurisdiction over all crimes occurring on campus.

HUPD does not have a formal memorandum of understanding with other local police forces regarding the investigation of alleged criminal incidents, but the Department maintains a close working relationship with Cambridge Police, Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, and Somerville Police and will coordinate with them at times in order to ensure the most appropriate response to criminal incidents occurring both on campus and the areas immediately adjacent to campus.

Officers have the authority to enforce state and local laws and University policies.

Security officers do not have the power of arrest. 


HUPD Responsibilities to the Community

  • To protect life and safeguard property
  • To create a safe and secure environment for the entire Harvard University community
  • To prevent crime, control criminal behavior, maintain order, and reduce fear of crime
  • To accomplish all police objectives legally and constitutionally, guided by HUPD values and mindful at all times of the rights of individuals and the interests of the community
  • To create partnerships with Harvard and community groups, service agencies, institutions, and other criminal justice agencies
  • To identify and solve problems
  • To listen to community concerns
  • To establish and support crime prevention programs
  • To respond to calls for service
  • To investigate crimes
  • To apprehend those who commit crimes
  • To help to convict persons charged with crimes