City and university police await approval for concurrent jurisdiction policy

Drew Parker

City and university police are working to combine jurisdictions in Kent this summer.

The city and university departments have agreed to concurrent jurisdiction of city and campus areas if a plan is approved by City Council and university officials.

The two departments at present follow a mutual aid agreement, meaning an officer may extend his or her jurisdiction with permission granted by the other department.

Michquel Penn, community resource officer for Kent State Police Services, said the new concurrent jurisdiction will allow officers from both departments to police streets that run on and off campus without calling for permission.

“I look at the contract as double coverage,” Penn said. “There will be two law enforcement agencies able to look out for both students and citizens.”

Under the new contract, both departments will have jurisdiction northwest and southwest of campus. Streets included in this contract are East Main Street, South Lincoln Street, Summit Street, South DePeyster Street and Haymaker Parkway.

City Council will review the terms of this contract at its next meeting before deciding on the agreement. If the contract is not passed, the current aid agreement, requiring officers to request permission to act from another department, will be reinstated for an additional year.

“The university has a lot of properties between the city and campus, so we thought it would be more convenient to work together,” said Bill Lillich, director of the Kent Public Safety Department. “It enables our people to work tightly together if need be.”

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].