While HUPD officers are legally sanctioned as full-fledged cops, Riley said he prefers that his officers be known to students as friends rather than arresting officers.
Beginning this semester, police officers patrol regular beats instead of canvassing the entire campus, he said. The 80 guards and 59 police officers who comprise HUPD are assigned to patrol one of three areas: the River, the Quad or the Upper Quad.
According to Riley, this is so police officers can form cordial relations with undergraduates.
Riley said HUPD's image was tainted several years ago when some black students felt they were being singled out by campus cops for suspicion of crimes.
But Riley said the HUPD is slowly changing that image.
Since last spring, police officers have begun eating in undergraduate dining halls.
"They have IDs just like everyone else, [and] they can swipe it and interact with students," Riley said.
He added that a new HUPD sub-station has opened in Cabot House this fall and 15 police officers have begun patrolling the streets on bike, leading to a decrease in bicycle theft.
"They're faster, less intimidating and more visible," Riley said.
In an interview last Friday in his spacious HUPD office, Riley gleefully recounted an episode in which a Yard police officer knew the first-years so well that he could direct a couple of parents to their son's Matthews Hall room.
"Freshmen know they have officers they can talk to, [and] it decreases tension," he said.
Riley, who is from Lynn, Mass., said changes to make the HUPD more accessible to the community were in part spurred by input from his six children, many of whom are of college age.
Riley said one of his sons, who attends the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, helps him get his message across to a college audience.
"My son tells me how not to be a dork," Riley said.