Going off to college is an exciting time of personal growth, and for many, it is the first taste of real freedom. The freedom to act and think as an adult is an immense responsibility, and sometimes, students can step over the line when enjoying their new lives. It is in the interests of each Florida college student to know how he or she should interact with campus police.
If you are heading off to college or you find yourself in trouble at school, you may be wondering if there is a distinction between campus police and other police. Knowing how you should interact with these law enforcement figures can be useful, especially if you are ever in a place where they are trying to question you. You may be a young college student, but you have rights, and it's smart to know how to protect those rights.
Are they real cops?
Campus police may seem like real law enforcement officers. They may dress like them and act like police, but that does not necessarily mean they are police. Some colleges hire security guards to act as campus police, and while they are able to do some things, such as search a room when necessary, their power is limited.
It is possible, however, that your school has its own legitimate police force or partners with the local police department to have real officers on campus at all times. These men and women have the same authority as an officer would off campus. Regardless of whether you are dealing with the real police or a security guard, you have the right to refuse to answer questions and to ask for support from an attorney.
The authority of the school
It's prudent to remember that you have the right to refuse to answer any questions, but that does not necessarily mean that you won't face consequences. If you refuse to cooperate with an investigation, the school may be able to implement certain types of penalties against you.
If you live on campus, it is likely that the school has the legal authority to search your room or apartment if there is probable cause to do so. This does not mean, however, that the school can violate your right to privacy without a valid reason. If you are under investigation, campus police have tried to question you or they searched your room, you will find significant benefit in reaching out for legal guidance regarding your defense and the protection of your future interests.