Does Quinnipiac Need Its Own Police Force?

Some town officials say yes, the university says someday.

As Quinnipiac University has grown in the past three decades from a small college to a major player, so too has the amount of time the town's police department spends dealing with matters relating to the school.

It's now gotten to the point that the university should consider establishing its own police force, two Legislative Council members said this week.

"We have a very good working relationship with the Hamden Police Department," QU security chief David Barger told the West Woods Neighborhood Association Monday. 

The university purchases police vehicles and pays for the overtime costs associated with two patrol cars assigned to the university area, known as Q1 and Q2, said Barger, himself a former police officer. 

But as the university continues to grow, so too does its need for its own police department, Legislative Council president Jim Pascarella said.

"Why is it that Quinnipiac University is the largest university in the state without a police department with arrest powers?" Pascarella asked. Universities such as Yale and Fairfield universities have their own departments, he said, and Quinnipiac has reached the ranks of those schools and that need.

"It is putting a strain on our department" to have to cover Quinnipiac, he said.

The university has said that its own police department is a long-term goal, Barger said, one that will happen in the next two decades.

"You say maybe within 20 years, but enrollment has gone up quite a bit,"Pascarella said. "Don't you think you should cut back on that timeline?"

The university's security force also helps out the town's police when needed, Barger said.

"We are actually helping the community as a whole," he said, "and not just paying for Q1 and Q2."

 "Purchasing two vehicles with all due respect is not reaching up to the full level that the service is used by the university," Pascarella said. "I'm sure your Board of Trustees has heard this from every mayor for years."

"With the expanding geographical enrollment, we would be pleased if someone with your experience and background could move the department to the next level of enforcement," Councilman Al Gorman told Barger.

The university is trying to make it easier for residents to report complaints involving students, Barger said, including the capability to report them online in addition to the hotline phone number already in use.

"We want to put something on the Quinnipiac University website where you could send something in and offer a degree of anonimity," he said. 

Most of the problems residents encounter involving students relate to loud parties, Barger said. Since July 1, there have been a total of 18 complaints filed, nine of which related to parties. The others included four for vehicles parked on lawns, two for trash and two that were determined to involved Southern Connecticut State University students.

But for those living near the school, the problems are still considerable, several said. One woman who lives on Whitney Avenue said that every Friday night for the past eight years brings problems with drunk students walking on that road.

She knows exactly where the parties are that the students are coming from, the woman said.

The QU security officers can respond to those complaints but have no power to arrest anyone, Barger said, recommending that calls also be put in to Hamden police.


Ellen Nosel October 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Quinnipiac's enrollment is over 6,000 students; the total population of Hamden is around 60,000. Common sense tells you that Quinnipiac should be doing more than just buying a couple of police cars to pay their fair share of the cost of law enforcement in Hamden. I applaud the council members who are making this issue more public so the citizens of Hamden can make their views known.
clint October 19, 2011 at 01:23 PM
yeah they should get rid of budda and his kin folk.
LOIS JASON October 19, 2011 at 04:48 PM
A presence is needed; since they are expanding more and more; which is wonderful for Hamden; Absolutely! The campus is like a small town.
John P. Flanagan October 19, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Not one item in the article, or any of the discussions, related to anyplace where a private security force would have jurisdiction. As noted in the complaints about noise at parties, the Hamden Police force would still have to be called because the Quinnipiac security force goesn't have any authority off campus. Instead of the showy hand wringing and demand statements that make for nice sound bites and short headlines, it would have been refreshing to see some practical solutions offered. Over the years, I've grown weary of the "we ought to do something" statements with not a practical solution attached. But, then, even when I was on the Council, I was an odd man out because I thought we were elected to find solutions to make the system work and not just note problems for the Mayor's office to deal with. I've always thought if government was easy, then there's be no satisfaction in finding the solution. Just for starters, since I don't like re-inventing things, it might be worthwhile to inquire into the relationships between the Yale/New Haven police forces and possibly between the Wesleyan/Middletown forces concerning how they developed and how the current interaction occurs. The police car assigned to campus was a solution. It's had some success; but, it's day may passed. Or, maybe not. It was the solution of it's day and may still be. Or other cities may have been there before. But, I'd start with a couple of phone call tomorrow.
John October 20, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Why not have Quinnipiac Fund three or four more positions on the force dedicated to "Campus Activities". Hamden would still be in control of the officers they would just be assigneed QU duties and Trained specifically for a College Atmosphere.


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