Senate panel OKs police powers for private campuses

Posted: February 20, 2013 at 2:21 p.m.

— The Senate has been sent a proposal that would give arrest and detention powers to campus police at private universities and colleges in Arkansas.

The Senate Education Committee on Wednesday advanced a bill by Republican Rep. Mark Biviano of Searcy that would allow private campuses to maintain a law enforcement agency with arrest and detention powers. The House approved the bill on Monday.

Biviano told the panel that giving private campuses the ability to create police agencies would help them better protect their students. There are 11 private colleges and universities in the state.

An attorney opposed to the measure said it would allow officers to mix roles between enforcing the law and enforcing a private campus' rules.