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The Vanderbilt University Police Department comes under the charge of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for the Division of Administration. As one of Tennessee's larger law enforcement agencies, the Police Department provides comprehensive law enforcement and security services to all components of Vanderbilt University including the Vanderbilt University Campus, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks, and a variety of University-owned facilities throughout the Davidson County area.

The Police Department includes a staff of over 100 people.  The department is organized into three Divisions:Administration, Operations, and Auxiliary Services.  All of Vanderbilt's commissioned officers have completed officer training at a state-certified police academy. Those officers hold Special Police commissions and are required to attend annual in-service, as well as on-the-job, training. The Department also employs non-academy trained officers for security-related functions. Employment opportunities are available.

Mission Statement

Vanderbilt University Police Department is a professional law enforcement agency dedicated to the protection and security of Vanderbilt University and its diverse community. To fulfill this mission we will:
  • Deliver superior law enforcement services with integrity and pride.
  • Respect and safeguard the dignity and rights of all individuals.
  • Demonstrate respect toward the people we serve and one another to maintain an environment of trust.
  • Develop partnerships with all segments of our community through effective communication and collaboration.
  • Carefully select and maintain a well-trained, educated and professional staff.
  • Accept individual responsibility and accountability for our actions.
The Vanderbilt University Police Department is an institutional member of and accredited by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). The Department is also accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (TLEA). Vanderbilt is the first university police department to achieve accreditation in the state-wide program.


Non-commissioned and commissioned officers staff the department. Commissioned officers are empowered to make arrests as "Special Police Officers," through the authority of the Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Vanderbilt officers with Special Police Commissions have the same authority as that of a municipal law enforcement officer, while on property owned by Vanderbilt, on adjacent public streets and sidewalks, and nearby neighborhoods. When a Vanderbilt student is involved in an off-campus offense, police officers may assist with the investigation in cooperation with local, state, or federal law enforcement. Metro Nashville police routinely work and communicate with campus officers on any serious incidents occurring on campus or in the immediate neighborhood and business areas surrounding campus. Vanderbilt University operates no off-campus housing or off-campus student organization facilities. However, many graduate students and some undergraduate students live in the neighborhoods surrounding Vanderbilt. While Metro Nashville police have primary jurisdiction in all areas off campus, Vanderbilt officers can and do respond to student-related incidents that occur in close proximity to campus. Vanderbilt officers have direct radio communications with the city police, fire department, and ambulance services to facilitate rapid response in any emergency situation.

Strategic Plan

As the first Strategic Plan for Vanderbilt University Police Department, this three year plan is a work in progress and is designed to serve as an adaptable, flexible guide to focus the priorities of the organization. The plan is practical and realistic, providing a course for the future. As Vanderbilt University and Medical Center continue to grow and expand to meet the needs of our community, the Police Department must be prepared to meet the increasing service demands that result from that growth. This Strategic Plan will guide the department as we meet the challenges of new leadership within the University and the department, an increasingly conservative budget forecast, and the challenges of emerging technology. This Strategic Plan lays the groundwork for staffing plans, equipment prioritization and replacement schedules, identification and focus of agency training goals, and details departmental goals and objectives.

Multi-year Plan

Annual goals and objectives specifically define a path to meet current and future service demands identified by expectations from the community for the delivery of quality police and security services. Vanderbilt University Public Safety leaders routinely receive feedback from the Vanderbilt community through ongoing meetings with faculty, staff, and students. In addition, VUPS staff are encouraged to make suggestions for service improvements that are creative, innovative, and efficient. The goals and objectives may change depending upon the development of other operational priorities, change in funding allocations, or service expectations. Quarterly benchmarks and progress are reported by each major component within VUPS to measure progression and success.

Vanderbilt University Police Department 2020-2022 Multi-year Plan