YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Last weekend, Youngstown city officials met with landlords and businesses to discuss safety concerns downtown.
One in particular was confusion on which department — Youngstown State University campus police or Youngstown police — respond to calls on the outskirts of the university.
“The advent of the new apartment structures on the perimeter of the university, it got a little more complicated,” said Youngstown prosecutor Jeff Limbian.
Over the last few years, the construction of student housing at YSU grew rapidly. These complexes are both on and off campus.
On the corner of Wick and Rayen avenues sits the Campus Lofts complex. Though the complex “campus” in the name, it isn’t on university property.
On the other side of the street sits buildings owned by YSU.
“The assumption is that the apartment that built across the street, The Lofts, is automatically ours also because it is students and everything else and I think that, you know, we just have to clear up that miscommunication that, well, no that is not our property but you know if you do need assistance and if anything happens over there we’ll be more than happy to provide help,” said YSU police chief Shawn Varso.
Since The Lofts are off campus, YSUPD is unable to arrest and prosecute suspects.
The city is responsible for taking reports and filing charges, but can call campus police for backup if needed as part of their mutual aid agreement.
“They call us, say we’re requesting mutual aid for you to go over there. Our officers would go over there basically to make sure the situation was stabilized and make sure everyone was safe and then after that if there was any report to be taken – we would do our own report but the city would have to do an investigation,” Varso said.
The mutual aid works both ways, where campus police can request aid from YPD if the situation required it.
“We want to make sure everyone has a comfort level and so we’ll be meeting to discuss those things again,” Limbian said.
Both departments made it clear their primary goal is to keep students safe.