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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arrested development

On-campus arrests for alcohol violations were up 75 percent last year from 2009.

The University of Arizona Police Department reported 317 arrests for liquor law violations in 2010, according to its 2011 Security and Fire Safety Report released earlier this month. There were 181 alcohol violation arrests in 2009 and 144 in 2008.

The increase is likely due to grant money provided by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said Sgt. Juan Alvarez, UAPD public information officer. UAPD received $57,220 in grant money from the Department of Justice for overtime officers, compared to $10,000 in 2010, according to data provided by Alberto Gutier, director of the office.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but they do a lot,” Gutier said.

In addition, UAPD received $5,600 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for overtime officers last year as well as $15,000 for motorcycle video cameras.

Most money distributed by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety comes from federal funding, Gutier said. Police departments throughout the state, including those at Arizona’s three universities, apply for the grants.

Police departments are required to apply annually and report arrest numbers, Gutier said.

The UA has about $25,000 in overtime grants and $10,000 for bike and pedestrian enforcement for 2012.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are targeted when UAPD has funding for overtime officers, Alvarez said. The increased enforcement allows officers to target DUI violations, underage drinking and other alcohol violations, he said.

The 317 alcohol violation arrests reported by UAPD do not include arrests for DUIs or drunkenness but rather violations such as minors in possession, driving with alcohol or drinking in public, Alvarez said.

“They (officers) are out there looking for that,” Alvarez said.

Students who are caught can be referred to the Dean of Students Office for a code of conduct violation, at which point they are given community service and a diversion program. But it’s “pretty common” for them to be arrested, Alvarez said.

“It depends on the situation itself and the officer’s discretion,” he said.

The number of students who have taken the Student Health Alcohol Drug Education through Campus Health Service has not increased with the additional arrests, said Lynn Reyes, alcohol and other drug prevention specialist for Campus Health Service. Some students may have taken a personal responsibility class offered through the Dean of Students, she said.

Campus Health and UAPD have similar goals, though Campus Health does not handle enforcement, Reyes said.

“We’re all really on the same page in reducing risk,” she said. “We want to prevent death or even lesser risks.”

The increased number of arrests points to effective enforcement, Alvarez said.

“(Having) more people out there contributes to safety,” he said. “The educational component is out there and people are learning from it.”

Knowing about this enforcement affects student decisions, said Andrea Garcia, a biochemistry freshman.

“From experience I know people would drink and drive if there were not police patrolling,” she said. “It stops people from doing that or being blatantly drunk.”

As more people are caught violating these laws, violations could decrease, Alvarez said.

“People know not to get in trouble again,” he said. “The word spreads.”

Reyes said that students who go through diversion are less likely to have additional violations. Enforcement makes them aware of the consequences of their actions.

“I hear students who have gone through the system say they don’t want to go through that again,” Reyes said. “They take steps to make sure that doesn’t reoccur.”

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