MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Same beat, new title! Beginning Friday, May 1st, Marquette University's Department of Public Safety will become a police department. It may not seem like a big deal, but after a string of recent armed robberies near campus, this change may be just what it takes to help keep students safe.
Marquette Public Safety officials say two robberies were reported Sunday evening, April 26th (one near 8th and Wisconsin and one near 17th and State). Marquette officials tell FOX6 News after Milwaukee police interviewed the student victim and reviewed surveillance in the 17th and State incident, it was determined the story was made up. However, police continue to investigate a robbery near 8th and Wisconsin.
Allie Maglio walked through campus on a sunny Sunday afternoon -- taking a prospective student and her parents on a tour -- playing up some of her favorite things about MU.
"I love being a part of the city. I`m from a suburb of Chicago. Chicago was just a really big city and I like that Milwaukee is a little bit smaller," Maglio said.
As Maglio showed off the campus, folks were no doubt watching them from above. A network of 700 cameras dot the MU campus. It is the responsibility of Marquette's Department of Public Safety to monitor activity captured by those cameras.
"I think it gives warning to a criminal element that might come to the area that there are police around," Marquette University Chief of Public Safety Paul Mascari said.
Mascari says the Department of Public Safety has been a sort of private detective agency on campus since 2001. Even after two MU students were robbed at gunpoint in separate incidents earlier this month, monitoring was essentially the extent of the agency's power. They work with Milwaukee police on any campus-related crimes.
But beginning May 1st, that changes.
"We`ll be able to handle it on our own," Mascari said.
The Department of Public Safety is set to become the Marquette University Police Department. As police officers, they'll be able to make arrests.
"I am kind of comforted about that. Before, they didn`t have any authority to stop the robberies or anything," an MU student said.
Maglio says she stresses personal responsibility -- especially when a question about crime comes up from a prospective student or their family member.
"Part of it is knowing my surroundings, knowing where I am going. That part falls on me, personally. On any campus, you are going to have robberies. It`s always going to happen. You can`t really get away from that," Maglio said.
Marquette University's Police Department will have about 35 commissioned officers on staff for the start of the next academic year. All will complete 500-plus hours of training, a psychological review, medical evaluation and drug test required by the state.
- Marquette University’s Department of Public Safety transitions to police force soon
- Two suspects sought after Marquette student robbed at gunpoint
- Marquette University alerts students after robbery near campus