WMU News

University police empowered to enforce state law

June 30, 2004

KALAMAZOO--At their June 30 regular meeting, Western Michigan University trustees granted University public safety officers the power and authority to enforce state law.

Members of the Board of Trustees held the third public hearing to discuss the powers and authority of WMU's public safety officers. A 1990 state law allows four-year public universities to grant their officers the power to enforce Michigan law, and the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, known as MCOLES, has urged all the state's universities to so empower their public safety personnel. Previously, WMU officers have gained state law enforcement powers through the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department, which has sworn them in and granted them the same powers and authority as other local deputy sheriffs.

Following the hearing, trustees authorized the creation of a Public Safety Department Oversight Committee, as required by the Public Safety Officers Act. Members of the committee will include two students, two faculty members and two staff members nominated and elected by WMU faculty, students and staff. The committee will receive and address grievances against the department or its officers, and it may recommend disciplinary measures against any officer found responsible for misconduct in office.

Trustees then approved a second resolution granting the University's public safety officers the same powers and authority as are granted by law to peace and police officers. By authority of the board, public safety officers may enforce state law as well as the ordinances and regulations of WMU. If necessary, the University's public safety officers may act independently on any property owned or leased by the University throughout the state. Their jurisdiction will also include public rights of ways traversing or immediately contiguous to University property, as well as any extension of jurisdiction as allowed by state law.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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