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Is College Park Ready for Its Own Police Force?

Off duty police officers of Prince George's Police department serve as College Park contract police officers

Off duty police officers of Prince George’s Police department serve as College Park contract police officers

The members of North College Park Civic Association will discuss City’s Public Safety / Police issue  at tomorrow’s monthly meeting.

In preparation of this meeting, I looked at the 2007 College Park Police Study report and tried to see if the changes in some of the key information in the report make the case for having College Park’s own Police force.

Some of these information is based on projected data / assumption and thus needs further study.

Our residents pay now about $18 million to County in property taxes (the County gets about 3 time of property tax revenues that the City gets: $6+ million) . The tax differential we will be getting for not using County’s Police service should be around $2.1 million. This is based on the assumption that the City would be  getting tax differential for Police Dispatch, Support and Administration.

Over the past 8 years, the amount of contract police cost has more than doubled from $500K in 2007 to $1.1 million now.

The speed camera revenue is a new source of revenue that the 2007 report did not include. This revenue amount is projected to be $975,000 in FY 15 budget. The City can potentially designate the entire amount to City’s Police department.

Also, we get more coverage by the UMD police now than in 2007, because of the expansion of concurrent jurisdiction into the Lakeland neighborhood (District 2). Additionally, we have a number of live cameras in downtown College Park. These mean that we may not need the same number of full time police officers that the 2007 report suggested.

There are also supplemental State grants that are available for municipalities for police protection. For example, the City of Greenbelt gets about $511K of State grant for police protection.

These are only some key figures. I understand we need to look into other issues such as the capital cost to start the program. I hope to dig into those numbers in future.

Update: [May 8, 2014]: Based on further analysis, it appears that our residents will not be getting the entire amount that they pay on County Police. That said, I will keep looking into the issue further and keep you all posted.

Update: [May 14, 2014]:  I updated the post with some additional data I received yesterday. 


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  1. Frank

    A police force is overdue in College Park. The payoff in perception alone would help the city more than make up whatever costs are incurred in launching a modest police force – see Hyattsville, University Park and even Berwyn Heights. The University Police’s expanded jurisdiction still does nothing for most city residents (especially in North College Park). No amount of public safety and traffic cameras can replace the peace of mind that comes with having a city-devoted police force. I would be more than willing to pay more in taxes if it meant having a city police force.

  2. Robert Catlin

    Alas the County tax differential has recently been reduced about 15% and the cost of police always increases faster than the COLA number you cited. The police resources the County routinely puts into the City, though it often is targeted at protecting students and student areas, could not be replicated by the City, unless it was willing to provide a $10 million police department like Greenbelt.

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