Bill would give campus police more freedom

If a bill passes the Missouri General Assembly, police at colleges and universities would be able to follow traffic violators off campus to issue a citation.

The bill, which was proposed by Rep. Mike Thomson, R- Maryville, aims to change current statutes by giving campus police more authority.

“This bill authorizes state college and university police officers to enforce traffic regulations on college or university property,” according to the bill’s summary on the Missouri House of Representatives Web site.

Under the current statute, campus police may follow violators off campus depending on their relationship or agreements with the community police.

“Overall, this bill is a good idea,” Rep. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, a co-sponsor of the bill, said. “It gives the police some tools for law enforcement. It is a safety issue.”

The bill went through the House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety and passed on Feb. 19 and will be heard by the entire House.

Pearce said the concept for the bill has existed in the House for about three years and has been co-sponsored by Pearce for two years.

The bill has been presented to the House before but did not pass.

“The bill died last time because of an amendment to include private colleges,” Pearce said.

Pearce said this time the bill’s fate depends on how it’s changed, but he thinks people seem to like it.

While this bill might help campuses in areas such as Warrensburg, it will not affect MU.

“We are able to follow students off campus anyway,” MU Police Department Capt. Brian Weimer said.

MU is a land-grant university that reports to a board of curators, not regents or a board of governors, as specified in the bill.

This bill is aimed at schools such as the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg that have regents or a board of governors.

“We carry city and county commissions and we routinely follow people off campus for moving violations,” Weimer said.

Even if the bill would affect MU, MUPD would not need the bill.

“There are good relations between MUPD and CPD,” Weimer said.

According to the House’s Web site, there are no hearings scheduled for this bill and it is not currently on any calendar.

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