D.C. universities try to extend police presence into neighborhoods
All Vox can say is… classic.
As if this wasn’t happening already at Georgetown, District universities have decided they want to expand their campus security forces into nearby neighborhoods in effort to better deal with any disruptive behavior by students and placate local residents.
Apparently Georgetown students aren’t the only rowdy ones, since lately George Washington students have been noted for clashing with neighborhood residents over late-night parties and other issues.
Because of the recurrence of these type of clashes, campus police have been reproached for improper and inadequate patrol of off-campus grounds. In attempt to reach some sort of consensus on how to proceed with the recent issues, representatives from the eight local universities are debating how far campus security should be able to extend.
Whatever comes of the debate will undoubtedly have implications on both students and residents. For example, the group has discussed whether or not campus officers should have the power to arrest students on public streets. While it is clear that university police forces have general authority over students on campus, it is unclear how the police would implement and enforce student codes of conduct standards in the new public realm. Furthermore, a bigger concern in the residents’ interests is whether the security forces are going going to have police power over anyone in the area, not just students.
The proposals also raise concern simply because the changes would grant private university police greater responsibility in the public sphere, which students and ANC board members don’t think they police are capable of handling.
Neighborhood residents, however, are ready to welcome the campus security into the residential areas, since the students have apparently gotten rowdier and louder than they used to be. Vox sometimes wonders if the residents who issue noise complaints every weekend ever considered the fact that they were the ones who decided to live near a college campus.
Regardless, Georgetown Police Chief Jay Gruber said “he doesn’t want his campus officers to have arrest powers off campus.” He wants them to be allowed to respond to noise complaints and help with any disruptive behavior, but enforcing criminal laws off-campus shouldn’t be in their sphere of influence.
Thanks for looking out for us, Jay.
Photo by intothelens4149 via Flickr