Department of Public Safety

The University of San Francisco makes a comprehensive effort to provide a safe and secure campus for all university students, faculty, staff, and guests. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Senior Director/Chief, Daniel Lawson, and is comprised of Campus Resilience, One Card and Public Safety Systems, Dispatch and Patrol Services, and Parking and Transportation.

Dispatch and Patrol Services

The Department of Public Safety protects and serves the university by providing professional public safety services and actively promoting community involvement through progressive community policing strategies and a commitment to education. The Department of Public Safety takes a proactive approach to public safety and believes that the community and Public Safety together play a collaborative role in maintaining a safe environment for employees, students, and visitors.

Public Safety Patrol and Dispatch is responsible for providing public safety and/or security services for Hilltop Campus, Downtown Campus, Orange County Campus, Sacramento Campus, Santa Rosa location, and South Bay location. The department is staffed by full- and part-time officers, dispatchers, and administrative staff, which includes 16 Public Safety Officers, six full-time Community Service Officers, and eight full-time dispatchers. Reserve Officers supplement the full-time staff by working patrol shifts at campus events.

Officers patrol and monitor the Hilltop and Downtown campuses 24 hours a day on foot, in marked vehicles, bicycles, and motorbikes, as well as by staffing several fixed posts. Dispatch staff also monitors video surveillance equipment and alarm systems. An on-campus radio communication system links all Regular, Reserve, and Community Service Officers with the Dispatch Communications Center. The Office of Community Living also hires students to work as Community Assistants in residence halls. These students are responsible for checking student IDs for building access and providing additional safety and security assistance for Public Safety.

Officers are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and they enforce university regulations and applicable federal, state, and local laws.

The Public Safety administrative office is located in University Center, 5th Floor. The Patrol and Dispatch Division operates 24 hours a day from its Operations Center in the lower level of Lone Mountain Main.

Selection Process and Training

Candidates for the position of Public Safety Officer must pass a comprehensive examination process that includes a background investigation, psychological evaluation, and employment interview(s). This process is designed to determine the applicant’s suitability for a public safety position in a university environment. Officers must graduate from a California or equivalent police academy, and Officers must conform to Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) training requirements and standards presented in the Business and Professional Code (as regulated by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services and the Department of Consumer Affairs) and the California Penal Code.

In addition to State-mandated training, newly hired Public Safety Officers are required to pass a 10-week Field Training Program. During this program, newly hired officers are evaluated daily on their knowledge and ability to handle field situations. Once hired, officers also receive ongoing professional development training on campus and at regional police academies. These courses include, but are not limited to: Hazardous Materials Response, Sexual Assault Investigation, Advanced Officer Training, Earthquake Management, Diversity, Firearm Recertification, CPR, and First Aid.

Arrest Authority and Jurisdiction

Hilltop and Downtown Campuses

Public Safety Officers have complete authority to apprehend and arrest anyone involved in illegal acts on campus and on USF-owned, leased, or controlled property. Any person arrested by Public Safety Officers is released to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) for booking and processing at the County Jail.

Public Safety may refer minor offenses involving university rules and regulations committed by a student to the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities. Officers enforce university regulations and applicable federal, state, and local laws. Public Safety Officers are employees of the university and are not sworn peace officers. However, they possess peace officer powers of arrest while on duty and on campus pursuant to section 830.7 of the California Penal Code. USF may only under very limited circumstances remove crimes that have been “unfounded” by local law enforcement. Unfounded crimes will be disclosed in the Annual Security Report and to the Department of Education, but these numbers will be withheld from crime statistics.

Additional Campuses and Additional Locations

The authority to apprehend and arrest anyone involved in illegal acts at the additional campuses and additional locations lies solely with the local police agency in whose jurisdiction the additional campus or additional location is situated. Additional campus and additional location administrators may refer minor offenses involving university rules and regulations committed by a student to the Office of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities.

Working Relationships

Public Safety maintains a strong working relationship with the San Francisco Police Department as well as other emergency service agencies (Fire Department and paramedics), and has a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the San Francisco Police Department. The officers of USF and SFPD communicate regularly on the scene of incidents that occur in and around the campus area. Public Safety Investigators work closely with the investigative staff at SFPD when incidents arise that require joint investigative efforts, resources, crime related reports, and exchanges of information. Public Safety collaborates with SFPD on all major crimes. Misdemeanor offenses may also be reported to SFPD.

Office of One Card and Public Safety Systems

The Office of One Card and Public Safety Systems administers USF’s One Card Program. The key purposes of One Card are to provide a centralized means for USF faculty, staff, students, and visitors to access university services as well as a convenient way for community members to conduct on-campus business.

USF students, staff, and faculty with a current physical or mobile One Card may use their card to unlock doors and gain entrance into university buildings and facilities. Access is determined by existing policy or by supervisor authorization; therefore, card access varies from person to person.

The Office of One Card and Public Safety Systems is also responsible for the administration of door access, cameras, alarms, and panic buttons.

Office of Campus Resilience

The Office of Campus Resilience is responsible for assisting and coordinating the university’s overall incident management planning and preparation. This includes developing, maintaining, and facilitating implementation of the university’s emergency operations plan; developing and conducting exercises to test plans and procedures; facilitating emergency notification communication within the USF community; conducting outreach education on university preparedness for students, faculty, and staff; and engaging external partners to improve overall university preparedness.

Parking and Transportation

Parking spaces are limited around campus and a parking permit is required for all campus parking lots. All parking lots on campus are first-come, first-served for faculty, staff, students, and guests with valid permits. Semester and annual permits can be purchased through iParq, and daily permits can be purchased from the Main Gate or Lone Mountain Gate kiosks. Public Safety issues citations Monday through Saturday to vehicles not displaying a valid permit. Any parking questions or concerns can be directed to


The Department of Public Safety operates a shuttle for people with temporary and/or permanent disabilities Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students must contact Student Disabilities Services at (415) 422-2613 to be approved for the disability list. Employees must contact Human Resources at (415) 422-6707 to be approved to the disability list.

At night, the shuttle operates as a Night Safety Shuttle for community members, sponsored in part by ASUSF Senate. For more information, see the Crime Prevention section of this report or visit the Public Safety website at

Guaranteed Trip Home Program

The Guaranteed Trip Home Program is available to faculty and staff who either carpool or take public transit to work. The program is intended for those employees who live within the Bay Area and are faced with an emergency that requires an immediate departure from campus to home. If you are an employee who finds yourself in need of assistance, contact Public Safety Dispatch at (415) 422-4201.

Alternative Transportation

The University of San Francisco provides a number of commuter incentive programs and services to the university community. These programs have been implemented in order to comply with the State of California’s Clean Air Quality Act, American Disabilities Act, and in a constant effort to better manage university parking resources.

The university has partnered with Zipcar and offers a number of cars on campus in addition to membership incentives for faculty, staff, and students. For up-to-date information on applications, visit

Tips to Stay Safe while In-Person Driver Ridesharing

Ridesharing has become a popular means of transportation, and it is important to consider your safety when doing so. These services are a very convenient and popular way to get where you’re going: they often cost less and are quicker to arrive than a traditional taxi cab. The popular ridesharing companies have safety guidelines in place, but just like when using a traditional taxi service, it’s a good idea to observe the following safety tips when using a ridesharing service.

Call and wait for your driver inside.

  • Avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with your phone in your hand.
  • Wait indoors until the app shows your driver is arriving.

Confirm the name of the driver and make of the vehicle.

  • Most rideshare mobile apps offer passengers details such as the driver’s name, photo, and vehicle type.
  • Before getting inside the vehicle, ask the driver “Who are you here for?”

Check the driver’s rating on your mobile ridesharing app.

  • If you are uncomfortable with the potential driver’s rating, cancel the ride and request another.

Share your trip details with friends or family.

  • Uber users can tap “Send Status” to share driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with family or friends.
  • Lyft users can tap the “Send ETA” icon which will send a text message to family or friends.
  • If your service doesn’t offer a status or ETA share option, snap a picture of the vehicle license plate and send it to a family member or a friend.

Be a backseat rider.

  • If you’re riding alone, sit in the backseat. This ensures you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and gives you and your driver some personal space.

Protect your personal information.

  •  There is no need to share your phone number or contact information with your driver.

Follow along in your own maps app.

  • Open up your own maps tool, enter your destination, and follow along, noting any odd route shifts.

Travel in groups when possible.

  • There’s safety in numbers. Try riding with a friend or consider using the carpool option that some ride-hailing services offer such as Uber Pool or Lyft Line.

If you sense that you are in trouble:

  • Call 911.
  • If you are able, get out of and away from the vehicle and go to the nearest open business or public area.
  • If a threat seems imminent and people are close by, yell, blow a whistle, or make a commotion in any way that you can to attract attention.
  • Report all crimes (actual, attempted, or suspected) to the police.
  • For cell phone use, program these important phone numbers into your cell phone:

San Francisco Police Department
(415) 553-8090 or 911

(415) 553-0123

USF Public Safety
(415) 422-2911

(415) 422-4201