North Dakota State U Police Powers Under Fire

Higher education officials are currently reviewing North Dakota State University police authority in response to questions that campus officers are making arrests off campus to boost funds for the city of Fargo.

FARGO, N.D. – Higher education officials are currently reviewing North Dakota State University police authority in response to questions that campus officers are making arrests off campus to boost funds for the city of Fargo.

The NDSU police department claims it has an agreement with the city that allows its officers to enforce laws in the perimeter around campus, The Associated Press reports.

Additionally, NDSU officers assist Fargo police with major crimes on a temporary basis.

Campus police can currently write citations for state violations, which are heard in district court. Any fine from the citations will go to the state. However, if NDSU officers write a citation for a violation of city ordinance, the fine will go to the city.

In 2013, NDSU police issued 765 traffic citations and have already issued as many as 100 between January and March of this year.

Campus police statistics do not differentiate between on- and off-campus arrests, Associated Press reports.

Representatives for NDSU said that lawyers for the university believe that the state Board of Higher Education can delegate law enforcement authority to the campuses. Additionally, university officials believe that the college presidents have the power to create agreements with city police.

However, Charlie Sheeley, an attorney representing a man who was arrested by an NDSU officer in a DUI incident, argued that the so-called memorandum of understanding between NDSU and Fargo is invalid and neither the Board of Higher Education nor the Legislature has signed off on it.

Additionally, Sheeley says the alleged deal conflicts with state law and is similar to taxpayers unwittingly funding the city.

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