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Bresciani cites attorney general brief to defend NDSU police practice with revenue

FARGO - After the state Supreme Court ruled that university police have no authority off campus, a lawmaker slammed North Dakota State University for funneling police fines to the city, rather than the state.

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North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani. Photo by Dave Olson / The Forum

FARGO – After the state Supreme Court ruled that university police have no authority off campus , a lawmaker slammed North Dakota State University for funneling police fines to the city, rather than the state.

See also: Future unclear for NDSU police, fines after Supreme Court ruling

But NDSU President Dean Bresciani said Tuesday morning that money is a separate matter from jurisdiction.

"The attorney general's already ruled on that one and said that's the decision of the institution, both are reasonable places," he told the executive committees of the Development Foundation and Alumni Association.

What Bresciani was referring to is a brief issued by the attorney general's office to the North Dakota Supreme Court in the case that prompted this ruling, Kroschel v. Levi.

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"There is no constitutional provision putting any limitation on whether an NDSU police officer may cite state law or a municipal code in issuing a traffic citation for a violation (either on or) off NDSU institutional property," said the brief by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Moraghan. "Thus, it cannot be a constitutional violation for an NDSU police officer to cite the Fargo Municipal Code in issuing a traffic citation for a violation off NDSU institutional property."

The Supreme Court's opinion earlier this month, however, did not address the issue of revenue.

Critics say that if NDSU police are required to stop patrolling city streets, they should also stop funneling fines to the city treasury. House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, has said the city should hand those fines over to the state Common School Fund.

Carlson requested an attorney general's opinion on the matter, as did NDSU, university spokeswoman Sadie Rudolph said Tuesday.

The university asked about fines, as well as the jurisdictional range of the term "institution," according to an email sent to Bresciani by Chris Wilson, special assistant to the chancellor. Rudolph provided a copy of that email to The Forum.

In the email, Wilson summarized his jurisdiction questions as, "what happens when something occurs outside the 'institution' but within visual range of an officer; what mechanisms can be used for Fargo PD to request assistance from NDSU PD; etc."

Liz Brocker, spokeswoman for the attorney general, said she could confirm only that the office had received a request to look into the issue.

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