After more than a decade of debate and controversy, the Truckee Meadows Community College Police Department will officially dissolve July 1 and combined with the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department, according to a report from the Reno Gazette-Journal.
UNR police will now patrol TMCC’s campus in addition to the Desert Research Institute, both of which are currently being patrolled by the TMCC police.
The merger was approved on Friday by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, which, much like its name implies, oversees all public higher education institutions in the state. Chancellor Dan Klaich said that the consolidation will act as a cost-saving measure and is expected to save almost $480,000 per year.
Come July, TMCC officers will become employees of UNR, though the plan that was approved does ensure that officers assigned to TMCC will always be assigned there, and that the community college remains involved in hiring decisions. Each of these provisions was absent in an earlier plan that went before the Board of Regents last December.
Not everyone is happy with the plan. Former TMCC President John Gwaltney said that community colleges are always the first to see cuts and would like to see a funding plan that does not prioritize universities, according to a Sunday report from the Associated Press. Gwaltney has partnered with several other former community college presidents in drafting a plan that would remove community colleges from NSHE’s jurisdiction.
Gwaltney and other critics have called the consolidation and other plans like it a power grab. The Board of Regents has now offered a new proposal that would consolidate southern Nevada’s university police systems and just last month proposed a centralization of NSHE’s registration system.
“[It’s an attempt to] wind the system together to the point where it makes it very difficult to separate the institutions,” Gwaltney said in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun. “I think any rational person that would look at it would come to the conclusion that it would make it difficult to separate the system.”
Klaich has largely dismissed these concerns, reiterating NSHE’s position that these moves are all the result of cuts to Nevada’s higher education budget.
In 2013, the Nevada Legislature did investigate the possibility of breaking up NSHE, and the recommendations that came out of that investigation have largely been implemented, again according to Klaich.
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