Marquette University’s Department of Public Safety transitions to police force soon

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Following a recently completed agreement with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Justice and Attorney General Brad Schimel, Marquette University’s Department of Public Safety will be come the Marquette University Police Department on Friday, May 1st.

The move comes after a year of intense feedback from key internal and community stakeholders, including the offices of the Milwaukee County District Attorney, Milwaukee County Sheriff and Milwaukee Police Department.

The transition will occur over the summer to accommodate the necessary officer training and certification requirements, according to Chief Paul Mascar.

The new Marquette University Police Department will take a phased training approach to convert the university’s public safety officers to fully commissioned police officers, Mascari said. Currently, Marquette University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) has 90 members, 51 of whom are qualified to be armed.

A university police officer must meet additional training and certification standards provided by the state’s Law Enforcement Standards Board.

The university expects to have approximately 35 commissioned officers in place by the start of the 2015-2016 academic year. Mascari, who will be sworn in the Morning of May 1st, will swear in 19 current DPS officers later that day.

“Our mission and focus is to serve our campus community in ways that are consistent with Marquette’s mission, values and principles and this will continue to be our everyday emphasis,” said Mascari.

To be police officers, current DPS officers must complete that state-mandated 520 hours of training, as well as a psychological review, medical evaluation and drug test.

Additionally, consistent with Marquette’s mission, all sworn MUPD officers will have undergone intensive training sessions in the areas of homeless outreach, crisis intervention and fair and impartial training. Homeless outreach training teaches officers alternatives to taking ‘enforcement action’ as it related to the homeless, while identifying how to help them from a range of community based resources.

Marquette leaders began seriously considering moving toward a commissioned police department following former Governor Jim Doyle’s November 2007 Task Force on Campus Safety report that recommended private universities and technical colleges have the option to employ sworn police officers similar to UW System Campuses.

Last year, bipartisan legislation was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker that allowed Marquette to create a university police department.

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