Walker gives green light to Marquette police force

Marquette University can officially form its own campus police department, thanks to a bill signed today by Gov. Scott Walker.

The bill, Assembly Bill 768, allows the university to operate its own police force and have a staff of university police officers who will hold the same authority as Milwaukee police officers.

Marquette’s Public Safety officers previously have not had the authority to write tickets or arrest individuals. The bill bolsters their powers.

Under the bill, campus officers will have powers to “maintain order, detect and prevent crime, enforce laws and ordinances, and make arrests or violations of laws and ordinances,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

“Marquette University has a proven track record of deterring crime and ensuring the safety of students,” Walker said. “This bill will allow for continued partnership between the university and the Milwaukee Police Department and is a great example of cooperation between the state, local government and the private sector.”

The Law Enforcement Standards Board will outline the training and certification standards for each Marquette police officer.

The need for a campus police force at Marquette is part of a broader initiative to equip campuses across the country with police departments. After Virginia Tech lost more than 30 people in a 2007 shooting, the Governor’s Task Force on Campus Safety pushed for Wisconsin to join several other states in granting private colleges and universities the right to have their own police divisions.

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