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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    In response to “Undercover cops miss root of issue, waste resources” (Aug. 30):
    I feel compelled as a former police officer to draw attention to some journalistic failures and common misconceptions from your Aug. 30 opinion article.

    For example, you listed quantities of underage drinking arrests and then did some mathematics based on an assumed fine. I would recommend looking into the question of how many arrested for underage drinking actually pay a fine and how many are sent into diversion programs that target the “root” of underage drinking.

    Your implication is that focusing on underage drinking is somehow not worthwhile compared to other crimes and that it is only done in an effort to generate revenue. This is ridiculous. Police departments generally do not benefit financially from arrests or even traffic citations.

    Furthermore, the “guy who jumps into a car … after having a few too many drinks” and the “girl who gets violent” may in fact be the same person arrested earlier in the night for drinking underage. Those 192 arrests made by Tucson Police this year might be 192 additional crimes prevented.

    You seem to argue that the police are out looking for students to arrest for underage drinking for no reason other than getting another arrest. In fact, throughout my career as a police officer I never met a police officer who made arrests in that way. However, I regularly investigated unruly gatherings, driving under the influence, fights, shootings, thefts and other crimes, many of which were directly related to underage drinking.

    Finally, you took issue with the police helicopter, which is a phenomenal tool for apprehending dangerous criminals. Logistics require it be in the air in order to be useful, and so when no major incident is underway, using it for crowd control just makes good sense.

    Furthermore, at large unruly gatherings, a mob mentality often takes over, making the situation dangerous for party-goers and police alike. Using this same mob mentality, the police helicopter can help disperse a crowd without putting nearly as many officers in danger on the ground.

    Perhaps the “students running into the streets” should consider why they are fleeing like criminals. Could it be that they are in fact creating a disturbance or committing a crime?

    — Aaron Klassen, MA,
    University of Arizona College of Medicine — Phoenix
    MD Candidate — Class of 2016

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    In response to “Undercover cops miss root of issue, waste resources” (Aug. 30):
    I believe the author of the article, Dan Desrochers, misses the root of the issue on underage drinking. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S. To be more specific:

    The Journal of American College Health says that 26 percent of men who acknowledge committing sexual assault report being intoxicated at the time and 29 percent reported being “mildly buzzed,” for a total of 55 percent under the influence. 21 percent of women who experienced sexual aggression on a date were intoxicated and 32 percent were “mildly buzzed” at the time, for a total of 53 percent under the influence.

    “Young adult males are more likely than other demographic groups to be involved in alcohol-related homicides and assaults.” Collins, J.J., and Messerschmidt, P.M.. Epidemiology of alcohol-related violence. Alcohol Health and Research World 1993, 17(2):93-100.

    About 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year as a result of underage drinking, 1,900 of those deaths are from auto accidents.

    In summary, drinking makes it easy for a perpetrator to ignore sexual and legal boundaries and a victim’s intoxication makes it more difficult for him or her to guard against an attack.

    The author of the article is asking for the Tucson Police Department to take a reactive approach (to take action after a crime has already been committed) compared their proactive approach (to arrest someone on a lesser crime to prevent a serious one from happening).

    I personally believe minors in possession should be arrested if it means that it can stop them from being a victim or perpetrator of a much larger crime that can truly ruin lives.

    — Corrine Bennett,
    Biological anthropology senior,
    President of Students Against Domestic Violence

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