In an effort to increase approachability and solidify their safety roles within residence halls, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department (UNLPD) updated its community service officer uniforms.

The new uniforms of red polo and khaki pants are designed to make students more comfortable around officers and help build relationships between the security staff and residence life. The old uniform mimicked university police uniforms and sometimes led students to feel like security team members were patrolling halls to enforce rules rather than serve as protectors, according to the university.

Hassan Ramzah, Chief of Police, and his team initiated the uniform change after reviewing a third-party assessment of the department. A section of the assessment included students’ perception of safety. Ramzah recognized that the old uniforms demonstrated a power imbalance and could make some students feel unsafe, as students often assumed that CSOs were campus police officers due to the similarity in uniform.

“It is important for us to be approachable to build trust, and to take the steps needed to build positive working relationships,” Ramzah said. “We want students to view our CSO team as campus guardians, and changing the uniform is one of the ways we can demonstrate our commitment to supporting students while working to enhance overall safety in residence halls.”