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City and UMd Join Hands to Improve Public Safety in College Park

Over the past few months, the City of College Park and the University of Maryland and other stakeholders in the Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland have been working to create and implement an integrated and comprehensive community development strategy for the University District around College Park.

Led by MD State senator Jim Rosapepe, the initiative was the work of a committee (CPCUP) that included Mayor Andy Fellows, Council members Fazlul Kabir and Stephanie Stullich, City Manager Joe Nagro, and Public Services Director Bob Ryan, PG Police Chief (Dist 1) Major Robert Brewer, County Council member Eric Olson, Renee Battle-Brooks from the State’s Attorney’s office, UMd V.P. for administrative affairs Rob Specter, UMD Police Chief David Mitchell, and UMd Director of Student Conduct Andrea Goodwin from the University.

Committee members will be at the City Council meeting tomorrow night to present and discuss their proposals.

The public safety initiative is part of a larger City-University partnership program that aim to improve K-12 education, public safety, transportation, housing/development and sustainability. The group’s work on education resulted in College Park Academy, which is set to start in Fall 2013.

The primary goals of the safety committee are the following:

  • Extend the University’s Student Code of Conduct and UMDPS’ concurrent jurisdiction to the entire City of College Park.
  • Provide UMPD with additional staff to patrol 3 additional student-dominated neighborhoods: Lakeland, Crystal Springs and the high rise student apartment buildings west of Route 1 and south of University Blvd. Determine additional actions if any, based upon an assessment of need
  • Expand security camera coverage in the City as quickly as resources become available.
  • Expand City noise enforcement capability.
  • Provide resources to create, track and share public safety metrics that would enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of the various initiatives. These metrics should enable us to effectively compare ourselves to peer college towns generally, and cities of choice within the metropolitan area.

In addition to these initial goals, the committee will work on a few other long term initiative:

  • Use “Safety Ambassadors” to expand the effectiveness of police throughout the City of College Park by increasing the visibility of safety efforts and expanding the reach of police. Safety Ambassadors would not be sworn officers; they would be uniformed public safety officers who do not carry a gun or a badge.
  • Initiate additional programs which deter risky behavior, encourage a healthy life style and make excessive drinking socially unacceptable.
  • Encourage landlords to cooperate with the City and the University to assure that tenant behavior meets City and County regulations.
  • Explore City contracting with UMPD as well as County police. Revisit, again, the idea of the City having its own police force.
  • Enforce alcohol and other laws and regulations more effectively. Focus on business properties and residential properties which serve as “party houses.”
  • Integrate the sworn officers (including UMPD, PGPD and City Contract Officers), safety ambassadors, 911 dispatchers and new cameras into system that is effective and efficient.
  • Consider extending current UM technology to other District residents such that they can interact personally and directly with the 24 hour dispatch system operated by the UMPD.
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