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The Southern Connecticut State University Police Department is a recent addition, considering the university's 113-year history. In the late 1960s, the confluence of the Civil Rights Movement, Women Rights Movement, and the Anti-Vietnam War Movement on college campuses highlighted the lack of security nationally for universities and colleges. The first security force at Southern was created in 1968 and was an auxiliary to the Connecticut State Police, with very limited police powers known as Institutional Security Officers (ISOs). These ISOs were commanded by the Director of Security Joseph Wosinski. This unit was in operation until the formation of the police department 1982. During the transition period from security to police officers, the unit was directed by State Police Sergeant Howard Sanger.

The Southern Police Department was originally housed in the in the old power plant on Fitch Street that once separated the Main Lot from Lot #2. In 1994, the department moved to its currentWintergreen Avenue location in Granoff Hall.

During the past 24 years, the Southern Police Department has had three directors of public safety: Chief Donald Hasbrook, Chief John Prokop, and the current director, Chief Joseph Dooley.  Chief Dooley was appointed to his post on June 9, 2006. The department is a full-service police department that has evolved along with the needs of the university. It began with 24 full-time employees and has increased to the present number of 34, including the director of public safety, associate director of public safety, a lieutenant, four sergeants, a detective, 20 officers, a building and grounds patrol officer, five dispatchers, and an administrative assistant. There are also 66 University Assistants that fill part-time positions, such as parking lot attendants and the Buley Library security attendant.

The department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. The staff of the Southern Connecticut State University Police Department is committed to the safety and security of the campus along with enhancing the ability of the university to provide a superior academic environment.