Marquette University considers having its own police force, but will it deter crime?

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Marquette University is looking into adding their own police force to make the campus and surrounding neighborhoods safer. University officials held on Wednesday, October 22nd the first in a series of forums about the idea -- and what changes it would bring.

Anyone who has ever been to Marquette knows it's an upscale, private university. It's a school the Chief of Public Safety says is very safe. But it's also right in the heart of Wisconsin's biggest city.

"We're not immune from, you know, crime that happens in an urban area so you know we certainly do see the things like burglaries or you know break ins to automobiles or theft from automobiles," said Paul Mascari, Chief of Public Safety at Marquette University.

Mascari says if the university had its own police force, it might help deter crime. Right now, the university has a Department of Public Safety -- but it is more limited than police.

"If we became a police department, we'd have the legal authority to arrest somebody, to issue citations, to enforce traffic laws that we don't currently have right now," said Mascari.

FOX6 News is told the university will be taking the feedback from the forums and using it to make a recommendation at the university president. We're also told the Milwaukee Police Department would still have primary jurisdiction in the campus area -- even if the university added force.