DPS planning to change policy on reporting crimes to MPD

The Department of Public Safety met with the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office last week to ensure that Marquette is in compliance with state laws regarding reporting crimes to the police, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.

Larry Rickard, director of DPS, was quoted as saying they will be putting new procedures into place requiring that his officers contact MPD as soon as possible when they believe a crime has been committed.

“Even though we are student-centered on this and we want to provide options, it has been made clear to us through that statute that we must contact the Milwaukee Police Department,” Rickard said in the report. “Even though it’s a complicated issue, we have the best interests of our students in mind, but we want to comply with the law.”

DPS first met with MPD to discuss crime-reporting policies on March 18, specifically in regards to how sexual assault cases are reported on campus.  However, that meeting was inconclusive, as those involved determined they needed assistance from the district attorney’s office in interpreting state statutes.

Under state law, any agency that operates under a private security permit, like DPS, “who has reasonable grounds to believe that a crime is being committed or has been committed shall notify promptly an appropriate law enforcement agency of the facts which form the basis for this belief.”

Current university policy under the student handbook gives the victim of an alleged sexual assault the option to contact MPD after reporting an incident to DPS. Rickard said that sexual assault cases in particular can be complicated because they often involve victims who may be hesitant to cooperate with DPS.

“We’re not exactly sure what the details at this point are,” Rickard said in the Journal Sentinel report. “We are committed to complying with the statutes and being victim-centered.”

Kate Venne, director of University Communication, said the university is still discussing what the actual policy will be and it will continue to have conversations on the subject.

“We will contact MPD if a sexual assault is reported to us, but there is no actual changed policy or procedure yet,” she said.