Amherst College Police Department -- Policies and Procedures

Subject: Mutual Aid
Distribution: All Police and Communications Personnel
Calea Ref: 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.1.4
Issue Date: February 01, 2009
Review Date:
John B. Carter, Chief 


Our normal jurisdiction as Amherst College Police officers is restricted to the boundaries of the college campus, except in cases of fresh and continued pursuit and arrest warrant service. We share this jurisdiction with other law enforcement agencies such as:

  1. Amherst Police Department
  2. Massachusetts State Police
  3. Department of Natural Resources
  4. All Federal Law Enforcement Agencies (according to individual fields of concentration)
  5. Massachusetts National Guard (during emergencies when requested or activated) 

For the most part the large majority of enforcement activity in the community is conducted by our Department. However, all officers should be aware that the authority of these other agencies may permit them to conduct their own type of enforcement activity within the boundaries of the campus. It is custom and a professional courtesy that Amherst College Police be notified of any law enforcement operations that will be conducted on campus.

There are also some situations which require, by law or conditions, that the assistance of agencies with concurrent jurisdiction be contacted. There are others which require guidelines regarding assistance from our Department to other local police departments.


Jurisdiction of Amherst College Powers of Arrest: Officers warranted through Massachusetts General Laws c22C s63 and 515 CMR 5.02 with the power of arrest are limited in their police powers to the area of the campus – lands owned and operated by the College. This includes all buildings within the borders of Route 116, College Street and South East Street and the Mill Lane, but also college-owned buildings north of College Street and west of South Pleasant Street. See also Commonwealth Vs Smeaton—contiguous roads and properties to the campus. 

Territorial Jurisdiction Not Routinely Exercised:

  1. Amherst College has decided not to have primary police response at the Rental Housing properties, the Lord Jeffrey Inn, and the Amherst Golf Course. The Amherst Police Department is responsible for law enforcement in these areas. HOWEVER, officers are authorized by law to make arrests in this jurisdiction, and may do so if there is a threat to officer safety.
  2. Amherst College officers may patrol areas where we have chosen not to use primary police authority, and therefore will report any incident needing police services to the Amherst Police Department.   See also Memorandum of Agreement with the Sheriff of Hampshire County.


Town of Amherst Police Jurisdiction: The College is within the Town of Amherst Police Department's jurisdiction. Because of this, the College and the Town have agreed to the following arrangements for handling of incidents and services on the campus:

  1. Campus Services: College officers will handle all calls for routine services. Should the Town of Amherst receive a request for a service for a location on campus, they have agreed to refer the call to this department.
  2. Campus Criminal Incidents: College officers will investigate most criminal incidents occurring on campus, and normally the Town of Amherst will refer callers to this department to report any criminal incidents occurring on the campus. However, the College may request the assistance of the Town Police when a serious incident occurs on the campus (major break where crime scene process assistance is needed, murder, armed robbery, etc.).
  3. Major Campus Incidents: The Town of Amherst Police Department may need to be called to assist on the campus for some major incidents, and should that be the case, the Amherst College Deputy Chief of Police should be notified immediately.
  4. Serious Felonies: It is the policy of the Amherst College Police that all serious felonies are to be shared with the Town of Amherst Police Department as soon as practical. The Town of Amherst Police will be notified of serious felonies in progress as soon as possible, either by dispatch or direct radio-to-radio contact between the ACPD and APD officers. (Also refer to ACPD General Order 2008-09: Radio Communications with Amherst Police) For other serious felonies, those not in progress, APD will be notified by either the Sergeant on duty or Senior Officer on duty, as soon as possible. Other incidents of importance, such as "Peeping Toms", indecent exposures, etc., may be shared with APD at the time of the incident even if the suspect is not apprehended.  Less serious felonies, such as past larcenies, will be reported by way of incident report. Command staff will be responsible for sending reports to APD.
  5. Mutual Aid: This department may, upon approval of the sergeant or senior officer on duty, request mutual aid from the Town of Amherst Police for safety reasons, or when Amherst College Police Officers are tied up with a major incident and another incident arises which also requires urgent attention.
  6. Town Roads: Town roads surround, are surrounded by and intersect with Amherst College campus property. Normally, accidents and incidents occurring on these roadways will be handled by the Town of Amherst Police. They may, however, ask for the assistance of this department in the form of back-up aid.


Normally, the State Police will only respond to campus following a request from this department, the Town of Amherst Police or Fire Department when assisting this department for a major incident requiring their expertise. If an incident on campus cannot be controlled or mitigated by local resources, the Chief of Police (or in his/her absence, the Deputy Chief of Police) has ultimate authority over all components of the department. The Chief (or in his/her absence, the Deputy Chief) may request assistance, through the Town of Amherst Police Department, from the appropriate federal agency or agencies (FBI, DEA, etc.), including the National Guard. If a local or state agency has taken control of a campus incident, they may make the request for such federal assistance. Although such assistance is normally handled through the Town of Amherst Police Department, the Chief or Deputy Chief may request state or Federal assistance directly in exceptional circumstances using contact information located in dispatch.

It shall be the responsibility of the Sergeant or Senior Officer on Duty to make the initial decision regarding the need for outside assistance from the Town of Amherst Police Department during some emergency situations. However, the Deputy Chief or Chief must be contacted for the purpose of advising that the action was taken and to be briefed on the circumstances. Examples of situations which might require this action include, but are not limited to: disasters, disbursement of large crowds or gatherings; serious accident scenes; searches for a suspect or suspects following a serious crime (felony); and, searches for missing or wanted persons. The Sergeants/ Senior Officers on duty shall assume overall command of those situations in which they have obtained outside assistance.

The State Police or local police may occasionally execute a search warrant or arrest for a case they have been investigating. In such instances, they often notify this department of their presence on campus, and may ask for assistance in locating and accessing an individual or space on campus. The same guidelines for responsibility for reports and court cases apply. The department primarily handling the case will take responsibility, though the assisting department may be summoned.



The FAA must be contacted whenever there is an airplane crash which occurs on the campus. The telephone number of the closest office shall be maintained in the Dispatch Area and it shall be the responsibility of the Amherst College Dispatcher to contact them.

All officers assigned to the area of an airplane crash shall fully protect the site and allow no unauthorized person to approach or touch the craft, its parts, or anything else in the immediate area. Upon the arrival of investigators from the FAA, all officers shall realize that they have full command of the crash site and the aircraft.


Mutual Aid Agreement:

There are potential emergency scenarios prompted by an internal event that could affect a single member institution of Five Colleges. For these scenarios, the individual college may be entirely self-sufficient; however, it is possible the scope and scale of the emergency could exceed the capacity of the institution to respond. During such a scenario, outside assistance from the other Five Colleges institutions may be warranted.

The Presidents and Chancellor from each of the member institutions of Five Colleges have endorsed and formally approved a mutual aid agreement that stipulates that they will provide employee and material recourses to aid fellow Five College institutions when warranted and requested during times of emergency. Such assistance will be provided to the extent that it does not compromise the safety of the institution coming to the aid of another institution shall be tracked and remuneration will be addressed after the emergency has been resolved.

Regional level emergency may occur where all of the Five College institutions are adversely impacted simultaneously. For these scenarios, each institution will have to be more self-reliant; however, member institutions have agreed that they will collaborate and share resources to the extent possible.

Protocol for Five College Emergency Plan Activation:

When an emergency scenario occurs an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated and a command structure will be established according to the individual emergency preparedness plan for the impacted institution. If the emergency incident commander determines that the scope and scale of a disaster exceeds the institution’s ability to respond and outside assistance is necessary, then the other Five College institution shall be contacted.

The EOC shall contact the dispatch center of each institution and advise them to activate their emergency plan by contacting the appropriate individual(s) of authority. Once the individual(s) has been notified, they shall call and/or respond to the EOC of the impacted institution. The individual from the responding institution shall meet (or discuss via phone) the resources that are needed to facilitate the response effort and shall marshal the necessary resources from their institution.

Employees should be informed in advance of this mutual aid agreement and that they may be called upon during times of extreme emergency to respond to other Five College institutions. Employees who respond shall be compensated according to the compensation policies of their respective institutions. Employees will be covered under their respective institutions insurance policies for any injuries or professional liability claims according to the policies and procedures of their institution.

Regional level disasters that result in simultaneous activation of the emergency plans of each campus require that communications be established between the EOC’s. For such scenarios, the incident commanders for each institution shall contact each other by phone, cell phone, radio, messenger or whatever means possible to determine if there are collaborative opportunities to assist each other in responding to the disaster. Often, regional level disasters are due to natural causes (e.g. hurricane, ice storm, etc.) and their timing is predictable. In such cases, the member institutions shall proactively contact each other to communicate their level of readiness and determine if collaborative response approaches will be beneficial.

Five College’s Inc Presidents Resolution for Mutual Aid:

The member institutions of Five Colleges agree that they will, when requested, work in collaboration to provide assistance to the extent practical, without unreasonably compromising the safety of their respective campuses, to member institutions during emergency scenarios. Such request shall come from the “incident commander”, who has been vested authority to activate the emergency plan. Assistance shall include, but is not limited to, manpower, technical expertise, equipment, and supplies. The institution providing assistance is entitled to reimbursement for the costs, direct or indirect, that they incur.