In my opinion, the University of Texas Police are losing sight of their main purpose of protecting UT property and UT students. When I attended UT, you never heard of UT police making DWI arrests. Now, UT police are making a large number of arrests…and more and more each year.
To most folk’s surpirise, more and more of these arrests are not being made on campus. Most folks don’t realize that UT police have jurisdiction to make arrests in any county that the University owns property. What that means is that a UT police officer basically has statewide jurisdiction.
UT police arrested 220 folks for DWI in 2006 compared to 124 in 2005. Here is where the rub lies: for every arrest, an officer will be gone from their job at the University for a minimum 8 hours and could be days, if the case goes to trial. This is time that they will be gone from their original job, protecting UT property and students. There are so many agencies that are available to make DWI arrests, as an alumni of UT, I find it a huge waste of University resources for these officers to make traffic stops off of campus. These stops are often for burned out headlights, burned out taillights, and other menial reasons. If they were on campus, I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but it is absurd to see UT cops making traffic stops on 5th street, no where near a UT campus, for a car’s mechanical failure (i.e. headlight out).
Also, there are enough other officers available that UT police could call another agency, like APD, to take over a DWI investigation if they suspect the person might be intoxicated. I understand the whole argument that they are licensed peace officers, but they are employed by UT, and there is a better way of doing things than the way it is being currently handled.
As an alumnus, I believe that UT police should not make traffic stops off of Campus, unless the driver is endangering lives. They should not make stops off of Campus for minor offenses…..It is just not a good use of University resources.