Should Campus Police Have Jurisdiction Outside College Campuses?
In about a month, students will be back or on their way back to college campuses. Talk about police overstepping their boundaries has been a big talking point around the country. But in this instance, things are a bit different.
In North Dakota, the law is pretty clear. Campus police do not have jurisdiction off campus. This decision was upheld on July 7, 2015 in the state Supreme Court in Kroschel v. Levi.
This is creating a few issues. First off, despite the law, and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law, campus police at both NDSU and UND are still operating outside their jurisdiction according to SayAnythingBlog.
The other problem is that individuals clearly guilty of crimes are having their cases dismissed because police officers are not following the law.
On February 12, 2016 an individual named Adam Solum was in a vehicle on North University Drive, a street located outside but near the campus of NDSU.
An NDSU campus officer approached the vehicle, conducted a field sobriety test on Solum and also requested a blood test be taken. Solum was then detained and taken to the Cass County Jail.
Less than 10 days ago, on July 19, the court dismissed this case on the grounds that the arresting officer acted outside his jurisdiction. The court did claim that had the Grand Forks Police asked NDSU campus police for assistance, the matter might be different. But there was no evidence that the Grand Forks Police asked for assistance. The campus officer acted on his own.
UND Police Chief Eric Plummer is not on board with the law stating in a letter back in February that he fears that, "this is creating an atmosphere where a tragic situation is just around the corner."
SayAnythingBlog which highlights this issue did not appear to talk to Fargo or Grand Forks police to ask them what they think of the law or to ask if they plan to patrol near the campuses a little bit more. I have reached out to both police departments and will update this post if they respond.
UPDATE 4:20PM: The Grand Forks Police Department released this statement to us:
The Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD) has always retained primary law enforcement jurisdiction of any non-federal, state, or county property within the city limits of Grand Forks. This obviously includes those properties that border the campus of the University of North Dakota (UND). The GFPD deploys officers and other resources to patrol and provide services to that area similar to all other geographical locations within the city. The issue of campus police jurisdiction is not new. The GFPD, in partnership with UND PD, was effective in providing a safe and secure environment in and around the campus area throughout the 2015-2016 school year, and we expect no less for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year
The SayAnythingBlog suggests it is possible that the law will be changed at the next legislative session in January.
For now though, students heading back to campus should know their rights and the law to ensure they are not improperly detained. Hopefully the Fargo and Grand Forks Police Departments will have better patrolling around campus to avoid this issue.
Do you feel that campus should be able to operate off-campus?