In 1928 the first uniformed and armed officer was hired to patrol the campus. This officer was supplemented by student watchmen stationed in various buildings. A second patrolman was hired in 1934 and in 1937 an agreement was made with the City of East Lansing for their Chief of Police to act as supervisor for the campus force. At that time the department consisted of one lieutenant, one sergeant and five patrolmen. Station facilities were located in the power plant. The department had three vehicles, two marked and one unmarked, equipped with one-way radios to monitor the State Police network.
From this inauspicious beginning the department has grown to an independent police department with an authorized strength of 69 sworn officers. Today's officers operate vehicles equipped with multi-channel scanning radios, mobile data terminals, radar and laser speed detection, as well as vehicles designed for Crime Scene Investigation, K-9 patrol, motorcycle patrol, and multi-officer transport. The area of patrol has grown from a small agricultural college to a major university with the largest residence hall system in the nation.
All of the officers are involved in an intense Community Policing program, with some officers designated as Community Police Officers. These officers are assigned geographic areas of the campus and are responsible for the activities within those areas. Other officers specialize in areas of K-9 Patrol, Crime Scene Investigation, Accident Investigation, Tactical Operations, Traffic Enforcement, and Bicycle Patrol.