Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Marquette Likely to Get Its Own Police Force

Bill would give MU police the power to arrest on and off campus, and pursue criminals anywhere in the state.

By - Feb 19th, 2014 10:31 am
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Wisconsin Ave. running through Marquette's campus. Photo by Dave Reid.

Wisconsin Ave. running through Marquette’s campus. Photo by Dave Reid.

A rare bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate and Assembly on February 17th to give police powers to the Marquette University campus security forces. The proposals outlined in 2013 SB 610 would give the Jesuit University’s Department of Public Safety authority comparable to that of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Department, or, indeed of the Milwaukee Police Department itself. The Jesuits have the papacy, and now they want a police department.

Under the bill, “Marquette University police officers [would] have the same powers as Milwaukee law enforcement officers to maintain order, detect and prevent crime, enforce laws and ordinances, and make arrests for violations of laws and ordinances.” Police officers must meet training and certification standards. The university must take out liability insurance and provide written policies. Certified police would be considered “peace officers” for purposes of the Criminal Code and the university would be subject to certain public records requirements.

Currently, Marquette has a public safety staff of 80 professional and 100 student members. By contrast, UWM has 43 full-time police and 35 security officers.  According to the text of the bill, “The university may enter into an agreement with the attorney general and the city of Milwaukee to establish a university police department and employ university police officers for the purposes of maintaining public order, detecting and preventing crime, and enforcing state laws and local ordinances on the grounds of the university and in adjacent areas.” [Emphasis added.]

For purposes of civil and criminal liability, a university police officer may, when in fresh pursuit, follow anywhere in the state and arrest any person for violation of the laws of this state.”

There has been a long-standing perception that the central city Marquette campus has a disproportionate amount of crime, especially contrasted with UWM’s leafy East Side precincts. In 2012, the last year for which statistics are available, Marquette had seven sexual assaults, 13 burglaries, seven aggravated assaults, 35 drug and 15 liquor cases referred for prosecution.  The university administratively handled over 800 drug and alcohol cases involving students, so it is clear that the vast majority of campus security responses are handled in-house and would not require the police powers. The university has 11,700 students.

Although it is in the middle of a middle to upper class neighborhood, UWM, with its 30,000 students, has seen an increase in publicized crimes in its immediate vicinity. The UWM Police criminally prosecuted 6 weapons arrests in 2011, along with 3 sexual assault, 1 aggravated assault, 39 burglaries, 1 arson, 312 liquor law violations and 183 drug arrests. The university administratively disciplined 345 liquor law offenders and 183 drug offenders.

The measure is not about guns, since the Marquette campus force is armed at this time. It appears the Milwaukee Police Department would benefit from this arrangement by having the assistance of MU police to coordinate crime-fighting efforts in the neighborhood. The Marquette campus, although centrally located, is somewhat disjointed and has more community interaction and traffic than the relatively compact and isolated UWM campus — just a lot more non-university people going back and forth. Marquette has some 80 buildings located between W. Clybourn St. and W. Kilbourn Ave. and between N. 9th and N. 20th streets, with dozens of street intersections. [The administration failed to have W. Wisconsin Ave. closed to traffic at one time.] By contrast, there is only one street intersection within the UWM campus.

Richards Calls for Criminalizing First Time Drunk Driving Offenses

Rep. Jon Richards, running for Attorney General, has called for laws to criminalize first-time drunk driving offenses. Currently Wisconsin is the only state in America that handles first offenses in Municipal Court.

First-offense cases in the City of Milwaukee Municipal Court numbered 950 in 2013, according to city statistics. The city collects a fine of from $100 – $200 for each conviction that it is able to keep in the municipal treasury. A surcharge of about $400 is added to all drunk driving convictions, split more or less equally between the state and the treasurer of the county where the offense occurred.

The precise number of convictions for drunk driving in the city’s municipal court was not easily accessible, but defendants rarely win, and it’s safe to say that first offenses bring more than $150,000 to the city’s treasury each year. Since there are about 20,000 first offenses in Wisconsin, this is a considerable amount of revenue that would no longer flow to municipal coffers.

I asked Curt Witynski, Assistant Director League of Wisconsin Municipalities if his group had taken a position on Richards’ proposal. He said the group had not.

Richards stand is a bold one, in a state known for binge drinking and a less-punitive attitude toward drunk driving. It could make the Democrat the tough-on-crime candidate in this race (Republican Brad Schimel has said he opposes such a measure), but is this the sort of crime the average Wisconsin voter wants to get tough on? We’ll see.

Categories: Plenty of Horne

14 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Marquette Likely to Get Its Own Police Force”

  1. Andy says:

    MU Police force. I strongly agree with this idea and can not think of any good reasons not to. I do not have much to say to add anything constructive at this time, yet I feel so strongly about it that I wanted to voice my support.

  2. Dave K. says:

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

    Poke her with the soft cushions! Confess! Confess! Cardinal, fetch the comfy chair!

  3. Dave K. says:

    On a serious note, I’m glad that the pope has authorized a police force, armed with guns, to be used against students and local citizens. Maybe he’ll use the police to enforce his new gay tolerance and charity to the poor. “Stop gay bashing, or I’ll shoot!” one officer was heard to say.

    In our quid-pro-quo world, I wonder if the university getting a police force has anything to do with keeping Mr. Walker’s records private during the upcoming presidential race.

  4. Andy says:

    Dave, judging by you insensitive and intolerant sense of humor… am I to think that you believe students at Marquette should not be protected by the same means as other university students simply because of the religious orientation of the school?

  5. Dave K. says:

    Andy, my mistake. I wasn’t aware that the students of Marquette weren’t protected by the MPD. That is an oversight that should be corrected with a religiously based police force.

    Actually, you’re misinterpreting my sarcasm. Salam school and Wisconsin Lutheran College should also have police. In fact, I think that all religions should have their own police forces. I’m sure nothing could go wrong.

  6. blurondo says:

    Obviously the for profit prison operators are forecasting a shortage of clients and have made a substantial contribution to M.U.

  7. Kyle says:

    This article openly states that there is more need for a police force on Marquette’s campus than on UWM’s, yet no one seems to be calling for disbanding that force and putting more work directly onto the MPD. Is it because of religion, or just because they can afford a private school and you can’t?

    “It appears the Milwaukee Police Department would benefit from this arrangement…” Oh no! We can’t do something that might reduce crime in the city! That’s an outrage! The Pope is planning an invasion!

  8. matthew says:

    Why cant the university just contract with MPD to sponsor and hire more police officers to work in their neighborhood? Why do they need their own police force?

  9. Andy says:

    So just to clarify, this is about religious intolerance and not about what is best for the community. Good to know.

    Matthew, good idea… lets have UWM and every other university in the state do the same. That’s an especially good idea in Milwaukee where the MPD can’t fill it’s payroll as is… not to mention takes hours to respond to all but the most serious of crimes in progress.

  10. Dave K. says:

    Andy, we live in a secular society. The pilgrims left England because of religious persecution. The Catholics and Prostestants were killing each other in Ireland for many years. Sunis and Shiites are regularly killing each other in the mid east. I could go on and on about why a religiously based organization sponsoring a police force is a bad idea. But you’re a smart guy. You already know this. I think you’re just playing devil’s advocate.

  11. Kyle says:

    Dave, can you clarify a point for me? You want to deny MU something allowed to others solely on the basis of their religion? Or would you be just as upset if MSOE wanted a police force because of all the wars started by engineers?

  12. Cass says:

    Dave, your posts don’t make sense. They drip with pretension but have absolutely no substance. I’ll hope you’re just a troll that gets his jollies from irritating normal people. But, for the sake of clarity, the police force would not be ‘religiously based.’ They’d be there solely for the purpose of enforcing the law. Not Catholic doctrine. Lots of crime takes place on and around MU. This would just streamline the process of law enforcement.

    But, since you raised such a nonsensical point, I’d be delighted if the Marquette police took up the flag of Erin and started bashing in the skulls of the Orange Order.

  13. Andy says:

    If it weren’t for those engineers we wouldn’t have weapons of mass destruction! Kyle, you raise an excellent point… MU having a police force is one thing… but MSOE?? We must not let that happen!

    Although… you know who the second leading starters of wars are after all these religious groups? Governments! We must also not let the government have a police force!

    This has got to be about the second most ridiculous conversation I’ve seen on urbanmilwaukee and probably the most bigoted and intolerant… and shading it in sarcasm doesn’t sugar coat it.

  14. Dave K. says:

    You guys are funny.

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