Campus Police Expand Their Reach To Surrounding Areas — A Bad Idea?


Police officers who patrol colleges are empowered to do far more than react to campus emergencies, reports the Associated Press. They increasingly are expanding their jurisdiction beyond the school and into surrounding neighborhoods, blurring what the AP calls “a town-gown divide that colleges say is arbitrary when it comes to crime.” Advocates say the arrangement allows schools to keep closer tabs on students who misbehave off-campus – making it easier to refer them for disciplinary proceedings – and gives university officers greater flexibility to investigate campus crimes committed by community members. It can ease the workload of resource-strapped municipal police departments. A proposed expansion of authority has stirred concerns in Washington, D.C., where residents say university police don’t have the same level of training or transparency requirements as do the city’s police. Marina Streznewski, president of the Foggy Bottom Association, near George Washington University, says, “Expanding the police powers of a university police force without some kind of clear and transparent mechanism is a really bad idea.”

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