Anne Arundel County police could soon be responsible for security at Anne Arundel Community College, coinciding with a planned expansion of AACC's law enforcement curriculum.
On the same day college officials trumpeted the expanded curriculum in a news release, Police Chief Robert Russell said he hoped that by the beginning of July, the department will be in charge of handling security at the 230-acre campus. "It's a pilot program and we have not gone through the budget process yet, but I am sending a lieutenant to the campus on Monday to assess the situation," he said.
The proposed change is dependent on County Council approval during the budget deliberations.
The change in security should cost no one's job, AACC officials said. Under the tentative agreement, security guards working there now as college employees would become county employees.
Police and college officials acknowledge that crime at the 38,412-student college is minimal. The officers will be there to make arrests and provide a police presence. "The sworn officers tell the community we are serious about security," said Edgar Mallick Jr., vice president for administration at the college.
Chief Russell said the department plans to have officers on the campus during the day and into the late evening. "As long as there are students and faculty on campus, they will be there," he said.
Sgt. Mark Howes of the county police said most of the daily tasks, such as providing escorts and checking doors and windows, will be left to the security guards. The sworn officers will be responsible for patrolling the campus and making arrests.
Chief Russell said three sworn officers, a sergeant and a lieutenant would work out of an existing building at the entrance to the campus.
Mr. Mallick said the college spends about $435,000 a year on security, and those funds could be moved to the Police Department's budget to cover the cost.
The expanded law enforcement curriculum, slated to begin in the fall, will allow students interested in becoming county or Annapolis City police officers to take classes at the college that meet some state-mandated requirements for certified officers. "It would give students a good percentage of the training they need in law and traffic enforcement," said Professor Billy Thompson, head of the college's Criminal Justice and Legal Studies program.
Chief Russell said he would like the AACC program to take care of the bulk of the training now done at the police academy in Davidsonville. The county would then be able to recruit from the graduating class. "They would be marketable to be a police officer anywhere in the state," he said. "And we would have about six weeks of training on report writing and other things at the academy."