- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

Prince George’s County police have yet to sign an agreement drafted nine months ago that would allow campus police to patrol the University of Maryland’s environs in College Park.

The agreement, drafted in January, was one recommended by the Route One Corridor Task Force formed last year in the wake of the Nov. 10 murder of university student Brandon Malstrom. Mr. Malstrom, 20, was fatally stabbed outside a party just blocks from the university campus.

Under the agreement, University of Maryland campus police would join the Prince George’s County Police Department in patrolling downtown College Park, where many students live.

Campus police say they don’t know why the agreement hasn’t been signed.

“I know the county police still have it,” said Maj. Kathy Atwell, a spokeswoman for the 80-member campus police department. “We’ve signed it, they haven’t.” Maj. Atwell said the university hired six additional officers in 2002 to patrol the expanded area.

Prince George’s County police officials said the agreement was negotiated with former Police Chief Gerald M. Wilson, and that Chief Melvin C. High, who was sworn in May 1 to replace Chief Wilson, may want some issues addressed before he signs.

“We are aware there is an agreement that has been worked on,” said Barbara Hamm, communications director for Chief High. “The new administration needs to take a look at that and evaluate it, and we will do that in the very near future.”

College Park City Manager Samuel A. Finz said in May he met with Chief High, who agreed with the jurisdiction expansion in principle.

“I’ll be honest with you, I really can’t figure out whether this is just a matter of not signing it or not agreeing with the substance of it,” Mr. Finz said.

He said several other provisions of the agreement have been lived up to, including joint patrols along the Route 1 corridor, and expects the agreement will ultimately be signed. Mr. Finz said he hopes for a policing plan that addresses the city when the university is not in session.

“I am more interested to know what level of service we are going to get in the nonevening and nonweekend hours and what attention we’re going to get in the community-oriented policing program,” he said.

Maj. Atwell said an agreement signed in the 1970s with the county police gave campus police jurisdiction over limited areas outside of the university, including any property owned, operated or leased by the university. Campus police, who are trained at the department’s own academy, were not given jurisdiction that extended to businesses surrounding the university.

Maj. Atwell said the result has been confusion over where campus police have jurisdiction.

“On one side of the street you do, on one side of the street you don’t,” she said.

The new agreement was supposed to eliminate the confusion by squaring off the patrol area, clearly delineating the area for both officers and community members, Maj. Atwell said. She said it would allow campus police to serve a university population that has swelled beyond the university’s borders since the original agreement was signed.

Students said Mr. Malstrom’s death was one of many incidents where outsiders come into the Route 1 area to attend off-campus parties, then rob or fight with students.

John Ryan Schlamp, 24, of Columbia, Md., and Quan Lewayne Davis, 24, of Hanover, Md., were acquitted of first-degree murder, but convicted of lesser charges in Mr. Malstrom’s death. The men were sentenced in July to 13 years in prison. A third man, Robert Allen Fournier, 22, of Columbia pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in return for his testimony. He has not yet been sentenced. None of the three men were university students.

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