Over the past year, the City engaged the consultant group the Police Foundation to assess the public safety situation in College Park and explore ways to improve it. The comprehensive review conducted by the Police Foundation assessment team consisted of examining the current contracts and memoranda of understanding for policing services in College Park; analyzing available crime data, calls-for-service records, and other resources provided by the City and the law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in College Park; and, gathering input from law enforcement representatives, College Park and Prince George’s County government officials, business and neighborhood leaders, and community members through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and town halls.
The assessment team used the information to evaluate four options:
(a) remaining with the current policing structure;
(b) modifying the City’s existing relationship for officers and additional services with the PGPD;
(c) entering into a new contract with another local police department within Prince George’s County and
(d) establishing a standalone College Park Police Department (CPPD).
The report concludes that College Park should consider remaining under the current policing structure in the short-term, with the long-term goal of establishing a standalone College Park police department in the future. Developing a CPPD would unequivocally provide the strongest solutions, because it would not require the City to rely on another entity or department for policing services. Additionally, having a police department staffed by employees working for the city and wholly committed to College Park would directly benefit community members and merchants and provide them a dedicated set of officers with whom to build relationships and to partner create public safety together.
The report recommends having the City its own police department as a long-term goal, the City can spread out the start-up costs across multiple budget cycles, and apply for State and federal law enforcement grants to cover some cost. It also recommends creating a committee of City officials and business and community leaders to develop a long-term plan in establishing City’s own police department.
At tonight’s meeting, the Council is expected to discuss the various recommendations in the report and a plan to implement them in the short and long run.