Students here at the University pay
thousands of dollars in tuition every semester. These tuition
dollars, alongside donations, state funding and other sources of
revenue, comprise the majority of the funding for the Department of
Public Safety (DPS). As implied in its title, DPS is intended to be
a University and campus police force, tailored to the individual
needs of one of the nation’s largest and most dynamic public
universities. It is perplexing then, that a story published Sunday
in the Ann Arbor News reports that DPS is operating in areas well
off campus. Although DPS has jurisdiction to patrol Ann Arbor city
streets that are connected to University property, its primary
function is maintaining safety on campus, not in surrounding
areas.

Mira Levitan

Many in the community have complained about DPS operating
off-campus. Ann Arbor residents have reportedly been receiving
tickets as far away as Plymouth Road and Washtenaw Avenue. While
these roads technically border University property, enforcing
traffic laws while miles away from campus can hardly be considered
related to the increased safety of the university community.

While it would be understandable should DPS respond to a serious
crime on the outskirts of campus, it should not make practice out
of enforcing mere traffic regulations on University time, and at
the University’s expense. The University, not the city, is
providing the funding for DPS. It is a misallocation of resources
for officers to patrol non-University streets and write tickets
that end up going to the state and the city of Ann Arbor, which
receives any money that comes from court costs. None of it goes
directly to the University. In essence, the University is footing
the bill for DPS’ services and receiving few of the benefits
of its off-campus operations.

DPS’s primary responsibility is to make certain the
students are safe. Despite being a very safe campus, crime remains
a subtle yet significant problem. DPS exists to protect students,
but for some reason it has found it within its mandate to enforce
traffic violations on non-campus streets.

The cost of higher education is not decreasing any time soon. In
such tight times financially, services like DPS should not be so
casual with how they spend their resources. DPS is here to serve
the University, not to bolster the Ann Arbor Police Department in
handing out tickets.

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