Opinion: Are campus police qualified — or necessary?
From crowd control to working with government law enforcement, from heavy weapons training to counter terrorism cooperation, the role of the campus cop has exploded: expanding in size, scope and power, while morphing more and more to look and act like a municipal police force.
At Yale University, campus police accosted New York Times social justice editor Charles Blow’s son at gunpoint, saying the third year African-American student fit the description of a burglary suspect.
"Critics say incidents like this are problematic because private universities don’t have to disclose information such as guideline on “use of force” or “stop and frisk.”
Most private police departments enjoy protections from Freedom of Information laws, unlike their municipal counterparts.
A reporter for ESPN requested documents from Notre Dame’s campus police concerning 275 student-athletes. Notre Dame denied the request, claiming the police department is a private entity not subject to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act, and a trial court agreed.
Critics say there is a growing divide between students of color and law enforcement on college campuses, too.
A University of Cincinnati police officer was charged with the murder of a black motorist he shot during a routine traffic stop. The city prosecutor called for the university police force to be disbanded, saying Cincinnati police officers are better trained to manage law enforcement issues on the campus.
Under special arrangements, campus police claim implied exclusivity — giving them jurisdiction over city cops on campus, which experts say is inherently conflicting.
Cornell University employs a private police force empowered as “special Tompkins County deputy sheriffs” to regulate traffic, protect property, prevent crimes according to the state Education Law, and enforce laws on campus with reduced peace officer powers according to the state Criminal Procedure Law.
Absent police officer authority, these special officers cannot obtain or execute search or arrest warrants. Yet they conduct all felony crime investigation on campus with no public oversight.
After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, campus cops started teaming up with government intelligence agencies, and critics say this could become problematic if not carefully monitored.
The FBI’s post-9/11 Campus Liaison Initiative has agents appearing at universities to gather intelligence, according to the agency website.
This new friendship between campus cops and the FBI may lead to university police monitoring speech, political discord and religious activities.
Experts point to Columbia and New York University with sprawling campuses throughout Manhattan. Each school uses unarmed security instead of armed police, letting the NYPD handle emergency calls and investigations.
Training campus security to better understand drug use and alcohol dependency, as well as suicide prevention, makes sense; so does reporting criminal intelligence and terrorist threats to municipal cops.
Having local police investigate felony crimes on campus makes the most sense.
We are often consulted and retained on Title IX, "Greek Life" and Sexual Abuse Defense Investigations.
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Schools and universities also seek to bring in outside investigators and lawyers to help handle matters.
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Sadly, many believe an unwritten policy exist whereby university administrators, in the “post Weinstein age”, unfairly seek to punish the accused before all the facts are learned.
Demanding Title IX coordinators and investigators, as well as, campus police aggressively encourage, guide and assist a complainant in making a statement --- this does little to guarantee justice.
There must be a fair balance: every complainant must be treated with dignity and sensitivity; and not every respondent is guilty.
The defendant, when accused within a school or university
environment, must prove beyond doubt that they are innocent of the allegation. That isn't easy today.
If your in a fight that is going to affect you life going forward you must take the gloves off.
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Mr. Casale joined Alan Sash, Esq., and moderator Eric Bernstein, Esq. at the 2019 Annual Title IX ExecuSummit presenting, “Should an Accused Student Conduct His/Her Own Investigation?”
This high-impact, interactive and informative workshop was designed to voice the rights of the accused to conduct an independent investigation and present evidence to refute the allegation.
Retain a law firm that has experience representing defendants in Title IX, "Greek Life," and university sexual misconduct matters.
Remember you need a team that represents your interest.
Despite the experience and knowledge that a lawyers can bring, you still need experts to deal with law enforcement, witnesses and, most importantly, with collecting evidence. and dealing with the media ---that's were we become invaluable.
Responding, establishing a time line, recording witness statements and collecting evidence is key --- that's what we do. We get the information your lawyer needs --- information that is critical to your case.
With a keen eye we review law enforcement documents, interact with witnesses, record statements, conduct surveillance and prepare expert reports.
We also get your message out and refute the bias of others, especially the university, which seeks to get their message out to sway public opinion showing they are doing what is responsible.