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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT E. HOLDERMAN (01/30/81)

filed: January 30, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT
v.
ROBERT E. HOLDERMAN



No. 585, October Term, 1979, Appeal from Order entered February 26, 1979, by the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Action, of Centre County at No. 1978-375.

COUNSEL

Lee G. Nollau, Assistant District Attorney, Bellefonte, for Commonwealth.

Daniel McGee, Assistant Public Defender, Bellefonte, submitted a brief on behalf of appellee.

Spaeth, Cavanaugh and O'Kicki, JJ.*fn* O'Kicki, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Cavanaugh

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 163]

The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether a state university campus police officer may make a warrantless arrest outside the boundaries of the campus while in fresh pursuit of a summary offender.

In the early morning hours of August 20, 1978, police officers of the Police Services of the Department of University Safety of the Pennsylvania State University observed appellee make an improper left turn, in violation of 75 Pa.C.S. § 3331, from Shortlidge Road, which is situated within the Pennsylvania State University campus, onto to Park Avenue, which is located outside the campus in the Borough of State College. The officers pursued appellee through the intersection and stopped his vehicle on Park Avenue. Based on observations of appellee made following the stop, the officers arrested appellee for driving under the influence of alcohol, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3731, as well as for making an improper turn, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3331.

Prior to trial, appellee challenged the legality of his arrest on the ground that the campus police officer lacked the authority to make an arrest off campus, but his motion was refused. On December 12, 1978, a jury found appellee guilty of both charges. Appellee again raised the issue of the validity of his arrest in post-trial motions for a new trial and in arrest of judgment, but the trial court, after oral argument, denied these motions. The trial court, however, reconsidered its order and, in a written opinion, declared that the campus officer had no authority to make an arrest

[ 284 Pa. Super. Page 164]

    outside the boundaries of the campus and granted appellee's motion for a new trial. The Commonwealth has appealed.*fn1

Campus police agencies of state-aided colleges and universities were created by The Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, P.L. 177, No. 175, Art. XXIV, § 2416, 71 P.S. § 646, as amended by the Act of July 7, 1968, P.L. 297, No. 149, § 1, 71 P.S. § 646. This statute empowers campus police to enforce good order on the grounds and in the buildings of the campus, to protect property of the Commonwealth and to expel disorderly persons and trespassers. In the performance of their duty, campus police are empowered to arrest any person who damages campus property or commits any offense on campus. In addition, they must complete a training program approved by the Department of Education.

Of particular interest in subsection (e) which authorizes the campus police "[t]o exercise the same powers as are now or may hereafter be exercised under authority of law or ordinance by the police of the . . . municipalities wherein said colleges, universities and community colleges are located . . . ."

Included among the powers of the police of the Borough of State College is the authority to make an extraterritorial arrest when in fresh pursuit of a summary offender. This authority is derived from the intrastate hot pursuit statute, 42 Pa.C.S. § 8901,*fn2 which provides as follows:

Any police officer of any political subdivision may arrest with or without warrant any person beyond the territorial limits of such political subdivision for a summary or other offense committed by such person within such political subdivision if the officer continues ...


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