Detroit Public Safety granted power to patrol beyond campus


University of Detroit Mercy Public Safety officers will now be able to patrol and make arrests outside of the McNichols campus gates, thanks to a new bill signed earlier this month by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The bill, written because of Detroit Mercy, allows any private college or university with its own police force to work with local police on public property near campus. It’s similar to what officers at Wayne State University can do near the public university’s campus in Midtown Detroit. 

Detroit Mercy is the only university in Michigan that has a licensed police force, according to the House Fiscal Agency.  

In order to begin patrolling outside campus, the officers will have to be sworn in by Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Letitia Williams, chief and director of the Department of Public Safety on campus, is working with university administrators to acquire the steps needed to make the transition, she said. Since the law is so new, plans for patrolling outside campus are still unclear. 

One goal for many students on campus is to be safer traveling to and from the fraternity houses located just outside of campus on Fairfield.

Students can currently request a DPS officer escort them from campus to a fraternity house after dark, but that officer can only lead them up to the sidewalk in front of the house.

Kal Barawi, the president of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, hopes that the law will build trust between DPS and the frats.

“I have to do my research on the implications of the new law,” Barawi said.  “I asked an officer (about the implications) and he said he wasn’t sure.”