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.