Montana State University

Frequently Asked Questions

MSU Police Department

Do you have guns on campus?

Guns are not permitted on campus in the academic and common areas. The University does permit students to bring hunting and sporting weapons to the campus for those specific purposes. Students who reside in a residence hall are required to lock their rifles and shotguns up in a designated weapons storage area. They may not have weapons in their rooms. Students who rent apartments and houses in Family and Graduate Housing are permitted to maintain personal weapons in their residences. Weapon regulations are strictly enforced throughout the campus.

Do you have an escort service for students?

Yes, uniform police officers and community service officers provide escorts when they are requested. In addition, a community service officer will usually stop by campus facilities that stay open late such as the library and campus theatre each evening that they are open in order to be accessible to persons who would like an escort back to their residence on campus.

Do you have a lot of alcohol problems?

MSU is an environment where inappropriate use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs are prohibited. In addition, the University is an active partner with groups that support responsible alcohol consumption and programs to curb drinking and driving. Underage alcohol statistics are made available both on the University web site and in paper form. The Universityís Campus Safety and Security Handbook contains a great deal of information on the Universityís alcohol and drug policies as well as statistics for underage drinking and drug possession. The Handbook may be obtained from a number of sources including New Student Services, Dean of Students Office, and the University Police Department ( A copy of the Handbook is provided to those freshman and their families who attend New Student Orientation during the summer.

Who do you call for an emergency?

The MSU Police Department maintains a 24-hour public safety answering point that is accessed by dialing 911. The MSU Police Department has first responders trained to handle all types of medical, fire, and law enforcement emergencies. The Department investigates all crimes and incidents that occur on University property. The Department is assisted by the Bozeman Fire Department for emergencies relating to injuries and fire. The MSU Police Department works with other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies to provide the very best service possible.

Do I need to get a Montana driverís license and license plates?

A person who has resided in Montana for more than 120 consecutive days is considered to be a resident for the purpose of being licensed to operate a motor vehicle and must be licensed under the laws of Montana before operating a motor vehicle. Please check with the University Police Department regarding these laws and whether or not they will apply to you.

Do I need a decal to park on campus?

All parking on campus requires either a parking permit or a fee if you use the fee/visitor parking lot. There is an hourly fee lot located across the street from the Strand Union Building (SUB). Visitors may purchase hangtags at either the MSU Police Department (South 7th Avenue and Kagy Blvd.) or at the visitorís information booth at the fee parking lot (South 7th Avenue and West Grant) for $2 per day. With the exception of visitor hangtags, all other vehicles are required to purchase a parking decal prior to parking on campus. Please refer to the university police portion of the campus web site for a detailed map of where these resources are located.

Do I have to register my bicycle on campus?

Yes. All bicycles on campus are required to be registered with the MSU Police Department. Please consider visiting the university police portion of the campus web site to view all regulations pertaining to bicycles. There are also a number of helpful hints in the Campus Safety & Security Handbook. Bike registration is conducted during the same time frame as the registration of motor vehicles; the university police will also visit each residence hall during the first week of September to register bikes. A bike needs to be registered only once during any five year period and each bike receives a campus decal that will help police officers recover bicycles that may be either lost or stolen.

Is the parking decal included in my fees?

No. The university police need to obtain specific information about the vehicle that you will be parking on campus and this is achieved during the registration process. Parking fees are collected separately and the fees depend of which type of parking permit you elect to purchase. State law mandates that the cost of maintaining and operating all parking lots shall be the responsibility of those who use the parking lots. The MSU Police Department is open 24 hours each day, so avoid lines by registering your vehicle when it is convenient to you. You have a week after you arrive on campus to accomplish this registration. The police department will also set up temporary registration sites at the Strand Union Building (SUB) and in each residence hall sometime during that first week in September.

How many police officers do you have?

MSU has a full-service police department comprised of 30 full-time employees. The police department has 14 full-time sworn police officers and 4 part-time police officers. In addition the Department has 7 full-time and 2 part-time state certified Communication Safety Officers and a parking and support staff of 9 employees. All police officers and communication safety officers attend the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and are certified through the Montana Board of Crime Control. The police department is open 24 hours a day throughout the year. The University Police Department is a full-service police department. Police Officers investigate crimes and have full powers of arrest.

Is the campus safe?

Montana State University strongly advocates and invites university community partnerships for the purpose of empowering people to create and maintain a safe and secure campus environment. While no institution can guarantee an individualís safety, Montana State University (MSU) has taken a very proactive approach to community policing on campus. It is reasonable to expect that all persons on campus will accept responsibility for their personal health and safety and the security of their personal property. Prospective students, their families, and visitors to MSU are cordially invited to visit the campus and thoroughly investigate the quality of life both on campus and the surrounding community. We think that you will be pleased.

Do you have a lot of thefts? Are computers stolen on campus?

During calendar year 2001, there were 175 incidents where students, staff, or visitors (including vendors) on campus reported some type of larceny. The majority of these reported incidents were misdemeanor types of theft. The most common lost or stolen incidents involve personal property items such as backpacks, books, and bicycles that were left unlocked and unattended. There were two incidents where students had computers stolen and they were laptop computers that were left unattended in a building. There were no incidents involving the theft of a desktop type computer from a student during 2001.