Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the state of New York announced the implementation of concurrent jurisdiction at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).
Concurrent jurisdiction on the USMMA campus ensures that victims of crimes have access to local resources and assistance from local authorities in response to, investigation of, and prosecution of felony and misdemeanor crimes on campus property, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Under the new agreement, the Nassau County and Kings Point Police Departments now have authority to investigate misdemeanor sex crimes and most felonies, including sexual assault, occurring on the property owned and controlled by USMMA. Officers are authorized to make arrests, and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office has the authority to prosecute the crimes.
Not only are the crimes being investigated by the Nassau County DA's office and prosecuted by the DA's office, they will also be heard in the New York State Unified Court System.
“Our focus is on the safety and wellbeing of midshipmen. Concurrent jurisdiction is another critical step in our ongoing effort to strengthen safety and support at USMMA,” Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg, said in a statement announcing the new agreement. “I would like to thank our partners in New York State and Nassau County —working together we can strengthen enforcement by ensuring a uniform response to criminal activity across the entirety of USMMA’s campus, creating a safer community for midshipmen.”
This effort comes after extensive coordination among the state of New York, the Kings Point Police Department, the Nassau County Police Department, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Transportation, the Maritime Administration, and USMMA.
“We initiated EMBARC almost a year ago, as a program to help improve safety at sea for all midshipmen and indeed, for all mariners,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “Now, we are proud to partner with the state of New York on this change to increase support for a culture of respect and accountability at USMMA. Every midshipman must have a safe environment in which to learn — both during Sea Year and on campus.”