In March, the University requested that the joint jurisdiction policy between the Chapel Hill Police Department and UNC Police be expanded to include off-campus Greek housing.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said the request is similar to the 2009 expansion of the policy when UNC Police took over primary jurisdiction of Granville Towers, a privately-run complex near Franklin Street housing over a thousand undergraduate students.
“It's almost exclusively students on that property, with the exception of people who might work there,” Blue said. “UNC opted to take over responsibility for that property, and that's very similar, I think, to their proposal with respect to the Greek properties, with a largely student population.”
This latest proposed expansion would be an extension of the agreement that the Town of Chapel Hill and UNC entered into when they took over this jurisdiction of Granville Towers. Here's what this would mean for students:
What is joint jurisdiction?
North Carolina law states that the jurisdiction of a campus police force — such as UNC Police — includes property owned or leased by the university associated with it, as well as any public road or highway passing through it or immediately next to it.
“An agreement for joint jurisdiction is basically an agreement between the campus police and whatever municipality that they're working with,” Fran Muse, the director of Carolina Student Legal Services, said. “In this case, it would be UNC Police and Chapel Hill to expand their jurisdiction to properties that are not owned or leased by the University.”
When properties fall under this joint jurisdiction, both UNC Police and Chapel Hill Police are able to respond to the incident, Blue said. But, under requests for this policy that originate from the University, UNC Police becomes the primary force responsible for dealing with reports occurring at these locations.
For areas under joint jurisdiction policy, the call is routed to the first available officer from either police force, but the primary police department responsible for enforcement would be UNC Police.