Westerville police soon will have help patrolling and responding to calls on the Otterbein University campus.

Westerville police soon will have help patrolling and responding to calls on the Otterbein University campus.

The university is working with Westerville to help start a campus police force, which is expected to launch early next year. At its Oct. 19 meeting, Westerville City Council approved a mutual aid agreement between Otterbein and the city, allowing the two to receive assistance from each other on calls and allowing Otterbein police to enforce Westerville laws on campus.

City council also approved an agreement for 2011 that would charge the university $1,200 a month for running Otterbein police communications, including 911 calls, dispatching and reports through Westerville's communications department.

Otterbein also would be charged a one-time fee of up to $5,000 to purchase police radios, to set up the radio system and train Otterbein police in the communications and reporting systems.

Acting Westerville Police Chief Del Robeson said Otterbein's police force won't dramatically affect Westerville police but will provide additional officers and alleviate some of the patrolling done by Westerville officers on campus.

"It's going to assist my officers that we're going to have two or three more officers on the streets now. They're going to be primarily responsible for the Otterbein campus," Robeson said. "I don't see any drawbacks or negatives to that."

Robeson said there will be 12 officers on staff, with shifts of two or three patrolling 24 hours a day.

While Otterbein police will handle most calls on campus, Robeson said Westerville will aid with calls requiring more officers and would be responsible for the investigation of any major crimes.

"They're only going to have one to two officers out at a time. If there are instances where they need more help or if they're out on a call and another call comes in, we would continue to respond to that," Robeson said. "Otterbein realizes they won't have the expertise we do in the case of investigative assistance."

Robeson said the Otterbein police force will operate on the same radio frequency Westerville officers do to help with the coordination of officers and response to calls.

In addition, he said, Westerville will offer training to Otterbein police so the two departments use similar techniques in emergency situations.

"We have also offered to integrate their officers into our in-house training," he said. "Our intent is that everyone is on the same page so if there is an incident, then everyone will know what everyone else is going to do."

Robeson said Westerville police have been working with Otterbein for about two years on establishing the campus's police force, and he said he expects it will be a positive thing for both the city and the university.

"It's something that's I've supported from day one," he said. "We see it as a win-win."

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNews.com