The Jurisdiction and Responsibilities of Campus Police – The Spectator
Jay Dobson, the UW-Eau Claire Police Department Chief helped shed light on the responsibilities and jurisdiction of the Campus Police Department.
Dobson said the campus police are fully certified by the Wisconsin Department of Justice as a law enforcement agency. This places them on the same level as a municipal or departmental agency. For example, the campus police have full power of arrest.
Dobson explained that due to the location of campus police, the nature of most cases is different than the Eau Claire Police Department. Campus police are equipped to handle any case, but often handle different crimes than the town of Eau Claire.
“Our work is different. We often have different types of cases,” Dobson said. “The city of Eau Claire is constantly dealing with theft in stores. We don’t really get things like that often.
Dobson said campus police’s primary jurisdiction is on university property and adjacent roads, but there are other areas where campus police are now involved.
In April 2018, campus police and Eau Claire police entered into a “concurrent jurisdiction” agreement. Dobson said This agreement gives campus police full jurisdiction of anywhere in Eau Claire.
“The intention was not for the University Police to become a ‘Metro PD’. Internally, we have very strict protocols,” Dobson said.
Dobson went on to explain that the intent of this agreement was for campus police to help provide public safety at off-campus sites like Haymarket Landing.
“Our philosophy has always been public safety for the campus itself. But as other areas develop, we start to have all these off-campus areas like the three halls of residence and maybe even Sonnentag,” Dobson said.
Before the concurrent court deal in 2018, Eau Claire police responded to off-campus reports and cases involving off-campus dorms and other properties. This meant that many students would not benefit from the services offered by the campus police.
This jurisdictional agreement allows more students to have resources that the Eau Claire Police Department does not provide. Dobson set the example that students who commit minor offenses can have their charges diverted by campus police.
In addition, between the campus and the Eau Claire police, mutual assistance is in place. This allows the campus police to assist the Eau Claire police when needed, or vice versa. Dobson said that in 2021, campus police assisted the Eau Claire Police Department 80 times.
The Campus Police also cooperates with the UW-Eau Claire Housing and Residence Department to run a campus security officer program. According to them Web pagethis program allows students to volunteer and help keep campus safe.
Part of the Campus Security Officer program is a security program for students in need of safe transportation to and from campus properties at late hours. This program was recently expanded to cover the downtown parking ramp on Galloway Street and North Barstow Street.
“Today and going forward, our primary focus is public safety on campus for students and faculty and that has never changed,” Dobson said.
Heffernan can be reached at [email protected].