Police Grant: Funding for Frostburg City and FSU Police

On Feb. 16, 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed into action for both the Frostburg city police force and the campus police force. Proposed by past FSU president Dr. Jonathan Gibralter (2006-2015) in a joint effort with Frostburg Mayor Robert Flanigan, this MOU was the agreement between the two parties following two murders off of Frostburg State University’s campus in 2011.

Part of the MOU that is discussed in Section V: Funding for the Promotion of Public Safety, includes the university annually providing $200,000 for the purpose of providing assistance to the city to enhance and improve public safety for the citizens of the City of Frostburg. The funds for the MOU with the City of Frostburg come from the “state-supported” revenue.  97% of these funds come from the tuition paid by each student, and the funding FSU receives from the state (hence the name: “state-support”). Obviously, the majority of the revenue the state gets is from taxes.  The remaining 3% comes from various smaller sources such as library fines, parking fines, late payment fees, deferred payment fees, interest income, etc.

According to City Administrator John Kirby, the basis for the annual grant was “an attempt to stem the trend of City Police Officers leaving for better salaries and benefits at other agencies, including the FSU Police Department, and to provide join jurisdiction in the neighborhood surrounding the campus.”

The results of the MOU gave FSU police the ability to have “first responder” status to help the city officers cover more areas during busy nights. This agreement is outlined in Section III: Routine Patrols by Frostburg State University Police. In this section, the MOU describes what is expected of the Frostburg State University Police Department (FSUPD) in junction with the Frostburg Police Department (FPD). The most notable subsection in the MOU is Section III, Subsection ‘A’. This formally states that the FSUPD may routinely patrol the areas near the campus in order to supplement the FPD’s presence and assist in deterring crime. The areas referenced throughout Section III of the MOU are outlined in Appendix A.

The MOU would only remain in full force and effect for two years from the original sign date of Feb. 16, 2012. The MOU automatically renewed for one year on the same terms and conditions agreed upon in the original document. Either party had the ability to cancel this MOU, but they had to provide written notice seven days before the expiration of the MOU.

Mr. Kirby explained in his email that this MOU was the first of its kind in Maryland. This type of agreement has happened in other states. Mr. Kirby said, “…while colleges bring jobs and cultural benefits, they also bring increased costs for local governments for police, fire, and emergency medical services. At the same time, the colleges do not pay any real estate property taxes, which is how these types of local government services are funded.”

Now in 2017, the MOU has been renewed twice since its conception. Although City Police still retain primary jurisdiction, the FSU Police force acts as a multiplier. Frostburg State University Police Chief Cynthia Smith says, “ I certainly believe the agreement has had a positive effect on quality of life in the area and served to help keep our students safe.”

Written by Nicole Leighty, Shannon Farley, and Savannah Neubert

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