Message from Cal U Police Chief - Families and ParentsMessage from Cal U Police Chief - Families and Parents

Message from Police Chief Bob Downey

Bob Downey
Director, Department of Public Safety
Chief, University Police Department

Police Chief Bob Downey

As you are no doubt aware, some troubling incidents have taken place recently in California Borough, and some of our students have been involved as victims. This is a great concern to both the University and the University Police Department. 

University Police have been very proactive in our approach to these incidents. We have been more than willing to assist the California Borough Police Department and other agencies, working together to present a united front.
Please permit me to elaborate: 

  • Since the beginning of the current school year, our department has added extra police officers for patrols to supplement University coverage and to assist the California Borough police as needed.
  • This semester we have added a student security system that permits our officers to remain on active patrol while students handle routine assignments such as locking classrooms at the end of the day.
  • We have added extra officers during key times and events on campus to provide additional safety and higher visibility.
  • We have instituted a bicycle patrol that permits our officers to travel across campus in an inconspicuous manner while remaining vigilant to any potential needs.
  • We have increased our foot patrols on campus and in the residence halls, increasing the visibility of our officers.
  • We will continue to make extra officers available to assist the borough police and respond to incidents that occur in and around the campus. 

With regard to the tragic shooting on Oct. 17, it is my opinion that the actions of University Police officers mitigated the danger to the Cal U community and played an essential part in bringing this incident to closure. The good work of our officers has been recognized by the Washington County District Attorney. At the time of the shooting, which occurred several blocks from campus, University Police officers already were in the area assisting the borough police with another incident. When they heard the shots being fired, our officers immediately made a radio report and rendered all necessary assistance to the investigation.
At California University, there exists a strong and unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our students, staff and visitors. Upon learning of the incident in the borough, the command team came together and immediately began the notification process to ensure that our students were supplied with appropriate information so they could make intelligent decisions about their safety.

We immediately secured all residence halls and academic buildings. Notices were posted at all of the residence halls, and at our Vulcan Village housing complex, to inform our students about the crime and the fact the suspect had not been immediately apprehended. University Police remained involved in the investigation and relayed pertinent information to the Pennsylvania State Police, who arrested a suspect within 24 hours and charged him with the crime.

In the days ahead, we will continue to add extra patrols to the campus, and these officers will be available to assist the California Borough police. We are limiting time off for our officers to ensure maximum coverage and high visibility.  We also are coordinating requests with the Pennsylvania State Police to add additional patrols in this area, and we have requested assistance from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement Bureau, as well.

In addition, our office will provide safety escorts for students on campus who call the station at 724-938-4299.
As a law enforcement professional for the past 30 years, I can assure you that California University is dedicated to the safety and security of our community. There is a deep commitment by the University administration to provide the safest campus possible.

I should note that I am new to the California University Police Department. During the search process that brought me to the campus, President Armenti indicated that he wanted the "best police department in the country." I am firmly committed to this mission. Quite frankly, California University's commitment to providing this type of department is the sole reason that I came here, and that resolute dedication to excellence is my primary motivation.
I recommend that you view the University's website ( and its Parent/Family Portal (click on "Information for ... Families and Parents" at the top of the homepage) for a message from our President. It includes links to a variety of services, including Cal U Text Alerts, that are available to students, faculty and staff.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience, at 724-938-4840 or
Very respectfully;
Bob Downey
Director/Chief of Police
California University of Pennsylvania