Are campus police "real" police? A case involving the boys in (Yale) blue raises interesting questions:
"If you dress like a cop and you act like a cop, you should be accountable like a cop," said Janet R. Perrotti, the New Haven public defender who brought the complaint against the Yale police.
Last spring, a black teenager was arrested and taken to jail for riding his bicycle on a sidewalk just outside the Yale campus. Perrotti, who suspected "police misconduct" and called the arrest "clearly a case of racial profiling," said she was denied access to certain information because of the offender's age.
Perrotti—who dubbed the Yale police a "secret society"—filed a freedom of information request in June asking for the information.
I'm all for the public being about to check in on guys who can arrest citizens (even off campus, as in the New Haven case), but some are spinning the story as an object lesson in the dangerous, secretive ways of private corporations. The Christian Science Monitor quotes one particularly tangled up critic:
"For PR purposes, colleges want to perpetuate the impression that their campuses are crime-free enclaves," says Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., which supports college newspapers. "Honestly, no one believes that. Everyone believes that a campus with 20,000 or 30,000 young people on it is going to have some crime. It's not even an effective charade."
Listen to a story on the case from NPR.