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Letter: Change law to let UND police protect community

I have remained silent on an issue that is affecting the safety of the Grand Forks and UND communities. A few weeks ago, there was a call for a report of "shots fired" near the UND campus. Officers from UND responded to the area and tried to loca...

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I have remained silent on an issue that is affecting the safety of the Grand Forks and UND communities.

A few weeks ago, there was a call for a report of "shots fired" near the UND campus. Officers from UND responded to the area and tried to locate the suspects involved.

It was learned that the gunshots were fired at a residence just a few feet away from the UND campus and that the investigation would be conducted by the Grand Forks Police Department.

More than a year ago, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that campus law enforcement does not have jurisdiction on or near private residences that might be surrounded by campus property.

Can you imagine a situation just like that night, where someone could lose his or her life while an officer-who is seconds away and has the training and capability to resolve the situation-cannot act, due to the suspect standing 2 feet away from UND on private property instead of 2 feet onto the UND campus grounds?

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Now imagine that you and your family are at the Loaf and Jug gas station at University Avenue and North 42nd Street. As Grand Forks residents know, that intersection is surrounded by campus property on three of the four sides.

While you and your family are getting a snack for a planned movie night, a man walks in with a firearm and commits a robbery, all while a UND police officer is there getting a cup of coffee.

Because of the North Dakota Supreme Court ruling, that UND police officer has no legal authority to act as a police officer to intervene in the robbery and thus end the serious threat to innocent people's lives.

As the Grand Forks City Council member who represents a large portion of UND and the northwest part of Grand Forks, I am calling on our North Dakota Legislature to remedy this issue and pass a law that keeps our communities safe.

Herald readers, I am asking you as citizens to contact your state and local representatives, and to tell them that you wish to keep Grand Forks and UND a safe place to live, learn, work and visit for generations to come.

I would love to hear readers' comments and concerns and can be reached at DWeigel@GrandForksGov.com or by phone at 701-330-0317.

Danny Weigel

Grand Forks

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Weigel represents Ward 1 on the Grand Forks City Council. He is sergeant with the UND Police Department.

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