"We clearly have a gap. The county services are not extensive enough, and the university presence is not strong enough," said College Park Councilman Andrew Fellows, who is in favor of creating a city police force. "It's in the university's interest to come up with a solution."
In the past, university police and administrators have been reluctant to extend their reach into city neighborhoods. Yesterday, they said that more must be done to protect and police the burgeoning off-campus student population.
"It really is the city. ... But on the other hand, we have a very difficult situation with the crime rate now," said university President C.D. Mote Jr., who discussed the issue yesterday with the incoming county executive, Jack Johnson.
University police Chief Kenneth Krouse said he'd like his 75-officer department to be more active off campus, but that without added resources, it would "diminish police availability on campus."
Mote said the university is "prepared to spend more resources over there" but must work out guidelines with the county.
"A lot of it is who has responsibility - when is it that university police are in the lead, when do they back up the county," he said. "The safety issues are real and serious ... and therefore we have to see how we use our assets more effectively."
Sun staff writers Larry Carson, Tricia Bishop, Stan Rappaport and Kristin Sette contributed to this article.