CUPIC Conference a Growing Success Among University Police

Posted: July 20, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: July 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

By Dave Andrews

Det. Tom Bacigalupi and Sergeant Patty Millan with the 2009 CUPIC keynote speaker, Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Photo courtesy of Tom Bacigalupi

Mason Police Detective Tom Bacigalupi and Sergeant Patty Millan know that police work is dangerous, no matter where they go. But the way university police handle situations can be quite different from other police units.

Conferences for law-enforcement officials, although plentiful, don’t often address the unique needs of university police. To fill that gap, the two Mason detectives decided to create the College and University Police and Investigators Conference (CUPIC) five years ago. The fifth annual conference begins today, July 20, and runs through Friday.

In just five years, the conference has grown significantly.

“Every year we see new faces, in addition to the ones from previous years,” Bacigalupi says.  He adds that interest has skyrocketed as university police units try to find ways to respond to tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shooting.

The conference received the 2009 Award for Merit from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) for its uniqueness, quality and value.

As attendance numbers continue to increase, the conference has had to move to larger venues. More than 200 law-enforcement and security professionals are expected at this year’s conference, which is being held at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner in Vienna, Va.

“CUPIC has become widely known as the go-to training conference for college and university police officers,” says Mason Chief of Police Mike Lynch. “Chiefs all across the country have told me that their officers have requested that if they only get sent to one conference, they want to attend CUPIC. It offers the best training and the best value.”

The conference theme each year generally follows the latest headlines. Last year, the main topics were sexual assaults, computer crimes and crisis management. This year’s agenda will focus on social networking and stalking, auto theft, suicide prevention and illegal gambling, as well as a variety of other subjects.

More information and a full agenda can be found on the CUPIC website.

Write to gazette at