Campus police reach questioned - WNEM TV 5

Campus police reach questioned

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (AP) -

Florence Alexander, a student at Saginaw Valley State University, is outraged.

“He did the right thing with going in a well-lit area, something he was taught in Detroit,” Alexander said.

She says she's never had a problem with university police. But because Wallace was pulled over and arrested by a university officer, she's alarmed.

“I don't have any negative feelings toward SVSU police,” Alexander said. “They helped me out a lot, it's just this incident that was unfortunate.”

Wallace was arrested for fleeing and eluding police at a Sam's Club parking lot.

Notably, not on campus.

It raises the question how about much authority the university police has off campus. TV5 obtained documents spelling out police incident reports off campus so far this year.

Most were 3-4 blocks from campus although one was near I-75.

Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspeil welcomes their help and defends their actions.

“In that particular situation, if they were to make that stop, or initiate their stop in their jurisdiction, and a person doesn't stop, they have a right to go outside their jurisdiction,” Federspeil said.

The university police is deputized in both Saginaw and Bay County.

That means they can offer mutual aid in those areas and respond to crimes.

“Very useful because we can't be everywhere,” Federspeil said. “And instead of waiting 15 minutes for a deputy to get there or an officer from across the county, if another agency is on their way and can stop and help, that's a huge benefit.”

In the end Wallace was exonerated but his supporters, people like Alexander, said it was a wake-up call for the reach of campus police.  

“Obviously he did have his victory, his charges are dropped,” Alexander said. “But it's concerning that it took this story to go nationwide for someone to do the right thing.”

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