I have a confession to make: TUPD caught me driving without my seatbelt. I was departing campus on a late afternoon and traveling down Cross Campus Drive, that newly surfaced, beautifully smooth county road. But I paused too long before I struggled into the seat belt, and lo and behold a campus police car was flying after me. The jig was up… and it should have been. I was not wearing a seat belt and an eagle-eyed officer had spotted that. I had violated Maryland law on a Maryland road which, luckily for us, is policed by TU’s own sworn police force. And then there was a ticket. In the afterglow I can bend the knee to that! I deserved it and I’m glad our alert force is on the job. They can protect me from my own bad habits as well as those of others.
Now imagine this. You are on Towson Town Boulevard at the northern-most perimeter of TU’s boundaries. You need to make haste to get to the Beltway and your next destination. You step on the gas. You’re doing 50 M.P.H., heading west, and have turned onto north bound Charles Street. Then, all of a sudden, a siren and lights and in the rearview mirror what do you see? Not a Baltimore County police car, but there is TUPD writing you a ticket. Yes, a real ticket that must be paid to the State of Maryland. Towson police can patrol beyond the campus boundaries when the instigating event has started on campus or when they are called on by the County police to do so.
That’s not all the Towson police are responsible for. TU police are also responsible for monitoring parking lots, such as Lot 21 near Towson Center, which bring in outsiders who sometimes leave cars there for extended periods, even days. Given the gift of new technology, however, they can use the License Plate Recognition system to identify tags that are “hot,” flagged for offences such as revoked licenses, stolen plates or failed emission testing. Behold another potential ticket, but this time not for you.
Why is this information important? Some of it should inculcate pride in our hosting a police department which has sworn officers who can patrol the same way the County and City police can. Their scrutiny and quick response to what is around them rewards us with a more orderly universe. That is a gift to us.
For others, those outside our boundaries but sharing perimeters or road access, there is a highly visible caution that provokes good behavior in and near Tigertown. That is a gift to everyone.