Twenty Central Michigan University police officers were deputized in Saginaw County last week in preparation for the opening of the College of Medicine’s Saginaw campus.
The idea stemmed from a conversation between Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel and CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley about student safety in Saginaw as local police forces dwindle.
“I could not guarantee that the city police department would be able to patrol on a regular interval at the medical school, so, in an alternate form of collaboration, I decided to ask (Yeagley) what he thought about me deputizing some of his officers,” Federspiel said.
Federspiel said when officers come to Saginaw County, they will have full powers of arrests while in uniform.
This marks the first time Federspiel has ever deputized or given officers jurisdiction outside of Saginaw County. It had been seen as a liability because the sheriff is responsible for any officer deputized. However, Federspiel said it was more beneficial to the public in Saginaw.
“It’s a benefit to the university, to the students who are going to be future doctors, and it’s a benefit to our citizens on this collaborative effort,” Federspiel said.
On Jan. 17, Federspiel traveled to Mount Pleasant and deputized almost all of the CMU officers with an oath and notoriety. Two more officers who were unable to attend the initial ceremony will travel to Saginaw to be deputized.
Yeagley said this does not mean CMU officers will be rushing out to Saginaw as first responders.
“It’s their community; it’s their jurisdiction. They are the closest, and they understand how their community works,” Yeagley said.
Originally, CMU police only had authority on university property, but Yeagley said they are not the only police force deputized in more than one area.
The Mount Pleasant Police Department has authority and jurisdiction within all city limits but were also deputized by Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski. They are additionally deputized through the tribal police for tribal lands.
The only other time the law would recognize CMU police outside of their jurisdiction, Yeagley said, would occur if another agency asked for their help specifically.
“By law, you have the same police powers, as long as you are assisting them,” Yeagley said.
CMU police has been deputized for many years now, Mioduszewski said.
“They can go outside university property and conduct interviews, make an arrest if they have to, or, if they see a drunk driver out of their typical jurisdiction, they can take action and pull that individual over based on their authority through the sheriff,” Mioduszewski said.
The deputization lasts for four years or when a new sheriff is elected for the county.
The main reason police agencies are deputized is so investigations are smoother, Mioduszewski said. Without this small measure, the visiting agency could not make an arrest without the proper authorities.
“We’ve got a very cooperative relationship with all the police agencies here, and it benefits the county, too, because if they witness a crime, then they can take action without having to wait for a deputy to get there,” Mioduszewski said.