Police Combine Patrols near Kent State
Mutual aid agreement creates shared jurisdiction for city, university police
This summer and fall, residents can expect to see more police cars in certain neighborhoods near Kent State University.
City and university officials are signing off on a mutual aid agreement between the Kent Police Department and the Kent State Police that would create joint areas of jurisdiction in neighborhoods around campus.
Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee said the agreement defines two primary areas near campus where officers from both departments will have jurisdiction to act in various circumstances.
"It’s going to help us," Lee said. "It will certainly help us with saturating the area with more officers."
The two areas where both departments will have authority to act are defined by street boundaries and are defined as follows:
- Southwest of campus, this area boundary extends from: East Main Street, to South Lincoln Street to Summit Street; and then from Summit Street to South DePeyster Street; from South DePeyster north to Haymaker Parkway; then Haymaker Parkway back to East Main Street; and then from East Main Street to South Lincoln Street.
- Northwest of campus, this area boundary extends from: North Lincoln Street to Crain Avenue; then from Crain Avenue east to Wilson Avenue; south on Wilson Avenue to East Main Street and then back over to South Lincoln Street.
Lee said a large portion of the area southwest of campus is owned by the university, and now city cops will have the ability to enforce laws there. Likewise, the area north of campus is largely private property where city police have jurisdiction, but now university cops will be able to enforce state and local laws in that neighborhood.
"It benefits the university in that the university officers can now patrol both of those areas where they generally didn’t before, and they have the freedom to go ahead and act within those areas on, of course, not only state code but city code," she said. "Their officers may be requesting our officers now because I see them patrolling that area more."
Historically, other college towns in Ohio have shared jurisdictions. Though it's called a mutual aid agreement neither department needs to call the other to act now in those areas, Lee said.
Both departments have been helpful in the past to each other, Lee said, and this agreement simply erases some gray areas for jurisdictional lines to ease confusion among officers on a day-to-day basis.
For now, officers from the separate departments will be patrolling in their own cars, but eventually the agreement allows for joint patrols where officers from both departments operate out of the same car. It will be several months if and when that happens, Lee said.
And though this agreement more carefully defines cooperation among the two departments there is no talk of combining them.
"We have separate issues, we have separate entities," Lee said. "We have very different philosophies as far as enforcement goes. But we recognize there are times when both departments have to work together. And that’s what the mutual aid agreement is for."