A hard day’s night: officers outline arrest protocol
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
It’s late. A man in black approaches with his flashlight and asks for an ID. The Miami University student reluctantly hands the officer his license, unsure of what comes next.
The most common citation at Miami University is for underage intoxication according to Lieutenant Ben Spilman of the Miami University Police Department (MUPD).
“An officer will identify the person, make an assessment whether the individual is impaired or under the influence of alcohol and then make the decision to make an arrest,” Spilman said.
Custodial arrests are the most common, according to Spilman. In this case, the person is handcuffed, taken to the police department and paperwork is issued requesting the individual to make an appearance at the Butler County Court where the appropriate ruling will be made.
Spilman said MUPD prefers to release people after the arrest, summoning them to appear in court and pay the appropriate legal fee and fine.
Charges vary on a case-by-case basis, according to Denise Holcer, chief deputy at Butler County Court House.
Typically, Holcer said underage intoxication is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree.
“They can get a fine of up to $1000 and six months in jail,” Holcer said.
The fine varies in accordance with the individual’s actions at the time of the arrest.
“Essentially, an officer detects someone who is in violation typically because of their behavior,” Spilman said.
Peculiar public behavior is what draws attention and affects the outcome of the case, according to Spilman. He stressed that it is in students’ best interest to refrain from public urination and trashcan-tipping; two blatant red flags often seen by MUPD.
Spilman said students are only taken to jail under certain circumstances.
“Typically we only take someone to jail if they are unable to care for themselves or if they are uncooperative to the point of being violent, a threat to themself or someone else,” Spilman said.
Miami University’s Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution (OESCR) has a different process altogether.
They usually take the police report from the Oxford Police Department (OPD) or the MUPD and assess whether they are going to pursue the case and what they are going to do with the involved student, according to Spilman.
In this regard, Miami’s disciplinary system and the legal process handled by MUPD and OPD are separate, according to Spilman.
The OESCR usually mandates an alcohol and drug education program to students in violation of the university’s code of conduct.
“Typically, they do a program that the court has nothing to do with,” Holcer said. “If they complete this program, then the police department will dismiss it with them paying court cost.”
While legal violations are not uncommon on college campuses, a number of students fail to understand the repercussions involved. Junior Lindy Nusky said students need to take care of themselves and recognize the risks.
“When you’re out in public and drinking, keep yourself in control and avoid obscenities,” Nusky said.
The OPD has similar policies, yet is actively taking many arestees to Butler County Jail, in an attempt to deter crime. To learn more about this, refer to the article, “OPD sends students to jail in attempt to curb drinking,” on the front page of our Sept. 10 issue.