Mount Pleasant City Commission: New ordinance allows CMUPD to enforce city code on campus

Central Michigan University police officers will now be able to enforce all city codes and ordinances on campus, according to a new measure passed by the Mount Pleasant City Commission.

The measure, which changes the language and guidelines of the Ordinance Enforcement Agreement between CMUPD and the Mount Pleasant Police Department, allows campus police officers to enforce a code violation against anyone on CMU property or and its peripheral areas, such as local businesses and churches outlining campus.

"I think this is a great idea," Commissioner Jon Joslin said at Tuesday's meeting. "This is an excellent opportunity for the two departments to collaborate with each other."

Mount Pleasant Police Chief Glenn Feldhauser said allowing CMUPD to enforce city code violations gives the university more tools to combat and enforce the kinds of violations that typically involve students, such as nuisance parties and noise complaints, or malicious destruction of property calls.

According to letters sent from Feldhauser to Interim City Manager Nancy Ridley, CMUPD officials requested the approval to enforce city code violations at the end of the 2014 spring semester. The letter, dated May 21, was sent to notify Ridley and other city officials that Feldhauser approved of the changes.

One of the main reasons campus police requested the change in jurisdiction was to have an avenue of enforcement for the 300-foot emergency fire ordinance put in place earlier this month. The ordinance was passed by city officials after a rash of furniture and dumpster fires on campus and off.

Under the previous jurisdiction agreement, CMUPD would have to call city police officers to enforce these violations if a suspect was caught at the scene.

"CMU was only allowed to enforce state law, and some of the disorderly statutes are fairly generic," Feldhauser said. "We have some better tools to deal with things like nuisance parties, or in particular, the 300 feet rule (dealing with furniture or dumpster fires)."

Changing the language of the enforcement agreement between the university and city police will also benefit Mount Pleasant police officers in the long run, as well.

"During the big weekends, they help us off of campus, and what had happened was they work for CMU, I work for the city, if they stop somebody, I have to write the tickets," Feldhauser said. "Now they'll be able to do that themselves."

Addressing potential concern from students that the change in the agreement would give campus police an increased motivation to bust up student parties, Feldhauser added CMUPD won't be visiting any parties that haven't been flagged as being a nuisance.

"We don't go knocking on doors to parties and ask 'how many people do you have in there? Turn the music up so we can do something about it!'" he said with a laugh. "We have enough to worry about, and it isn't that the CMU police department is looking to generate more activity. They're not. They have plenty to do also."

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