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NCJ Number: 74551 Find in a Library
Title: Lawmen and the Prophets - Sectarian Exercise of Police Authority in Utah and New Jersey
Journal: Utah Law Review  Issue:2  Dated:(1980)  Pages:447-459
Author(s): J Waldo
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article analyzes legislation passed in Utah in 1979 that confers statewide jurisdiction and peace officer status to security police at private universities, including church-affiliated ones, in terms of a New Jersey decision which held that similar legislation was unconstitutional.
Abstract: The Utah legislation gave several classes of persons peace officer status, including security guards at private colleges and universities. At the same time, the legislature deleted jurisdictional restrictions that had applied to public university security forces. The result was to empower the governing body of the public or private institution to appoint campus police who may enforce both State law and institutional rules on and off campus. Thus, this legislation gives broad police power to the security force at Brigham Young University (BYU), owned by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Among BYU's stated goals is the development of religious faith and high moral character. Employees and students of all faiths are required to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and nonmarital sex, whether on or off campus. Thus, the legislation was assailed as a violation of the establishment of religion prohibitions of both the U.S. and Utah constitutions. Discussion of the New Jersey case of State v. Celmer shows that the Utah legislation gives more power than is necessary to maintain internal security. The article argues that conferring peace officer status on security police at BYU raises significant issues involving the delegation of State power. Finally, due process constraints that limit the role peace officers can play in the enforcement of institutional rules may reduce, rather than increase, the effectiveness of campus security personnel who receive peace officer designation. However, BYU and other private institutions need some mechanism for protecting property and students. No apparent reason exists as to why BYU's interests could not be adequately addressed by returning its security force to the status of private police, possessing the considerable arrest powers granted to all private citizens. The article further suggests that the Utah legislature confer a limited tort immunity on the BYU police for their on-campus actions, similar in scope to that given merchants and their security guards. Such a grant of immunity, without granting the status of State agents, would avoid establishment clause problems. A total of 74 footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Campus police; Judicial decisions; Legal doctrines; New Jersey; Private police; Religion; School security officers; Utah
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