Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley stressed Thursday that despite their new agreement with Mount Pleasant Police to enforce city code on campus, the city’s police force w=will not be coming on to campus to enforce city ordinances, or vice versa.
Instead, Yeagley said all enforcement matters will be handled as they always have been, by CMU police officers.
“The bottom line is that city police aren’t coming on to campus,” Yeagley said. “I don’t foresee (the CMUPD) having to enforce many city ordinances here on campus, but on those rare occasions, we now have the ability to do so. It just furthers our great relationship with the city police.”
The Mount Pleasant City Commission passed a measure Tuesday night allowing campus police officers to enforce city code violations against anyone on CMU property and peripheral locations, such as outlier businesses or churches.
Yeagley pointed to the recently implemented fire ordinance allowing police to arrest anyone within 300 feet of a fire if they are not actively putting it out as an example of a “rare” violation that his department is now able to enforce.
“This gives us the legal right to patrol those types of issues,” he said. “Every law has a certain criteria. We will now follow that just as the city police would.”
Meanwhile, CMUPD Lt. Larry Klaus said he hopes CMU students understand the role of CMU police, regardless of where or when an incident occurs.
“It is not our goal to go above and beyond the norm when it comes to enforcing the rules,” Klaus said, regarding a fear among students that CMUPD would overstep their bounds. “We just want to keep everyone here safe. This new (measure) is just another tool in our toolbox to help us complete that objective.”
Klaus mentioned the recent burnings on campus that city police have been dealing with as a major motivation for the change.
“That issue needed to be addressed,” Klaus said. “I hope that this action does more to deter our students or visitors from engaging in that sort of illegal activity. It’s just dangerous.”