The Iowa State police are known by many as the people who hand out donuts sometimes or the ones who post funny things on Twitter.
At the end of the day, though, their main responsibility on campus is enforcing the law.
In 2017 alone there were 1,780 arrests made by the campus police; jail time, fines or punishment from the university are just a few of the possible outcomes of breaking the law.
The worst way to start off your time at Iowa State is probably taking a ride in the back of a police vehicle, but there are many ways to prevent it.
Iowa State Police Officer Anthony Greiter outlined the main laws broken on campus by incoming freshman.
“There are three main laws relating to alcohol that students should be aware of,” Greiter said. “The first is what we call PAULA, or possession of alcohol under the legal age. This is more commonly known as an MIP.”
This law states that anyone under the age of 21 cannot have alcohol within their possession. The alcohol doesn’t have to be open, and it doesn’t have to be consumed or in the process of being consumed. It just has to be in the possession of someone under the legal age.
The second alcohol-related crime Greiter mentioned was public intoxication. In its most basic sense, the law dictates that any individual drunk or acting drunk in a public space can be arrested. There is no “legal limit” to public intoxication, someone just has to simulate intoxication while in public.
“We look for people who are getting our attention, starting fights, puking on the street, can’t stand up straight,” Greiter explained. “And we are doing this for their safety, not because the law exists, but because we want them to live through the night.”
The third alcohol law commonly broke on campus is what is known in Iowa as an OWI, or operating while intoxicated. You may have heard of this as a DUI, DWI or by a number of other acronyms.
In the state of Iowa, operating while intoxicated means any person inside a motor vehicle cannot be operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Believe it or not, when I started our Twitter page four years ago, one of the first questions we got was whether or not you can get an OWI while riding a horse,” Greiter said. “And I thought, only in Iowa would someone ask if you could get a drunk driving charge on a horse; no, you can not, it is not a motor vehicle.”
While those are the three main legal issues related to alcohol on campus, Greiter also mentioned other, more “unique” issues related to alcohol.
“Often times, kids are coming to campus and out away from their parents for the first time,” Greiter said. “With that however, there is excessive drinking. It isn’t a crime to be overly drunk in your own home, but it is a safety concern and one that should be taken seriously. We get a lot of calls for that.”
The next major category of illegal activity seen on campus relates to drugs.
Drug laws can be broken into two different groups: possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Drug possession charges can be filed if you have a prescription drug but don’t have the prescription or if that drug is illegal for all people in the state. Drug paraphernalia, on the other hand, is anything used to inject, ingest and inhale.
So drugs that require something to see the effects of said drug are also illegal to have.
Drugs can also lead to the previously mentioned OWI.
“Being intoxicated could mean using alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two,” Greiter explained. “So if your doctor says don’t take this prescription medication with alcohol, it is because it will impair your driving which will lead to an OWI. Sometimes these combinations can be pretty fatal with a few sips of alcohol.”
Officer Greiter also stressed that if a student ever finds themself in a situation, they should call their phone number at (515) 264-4428. Greiter explained that this line can be used for any and all emergencies.
In fact, he encouraged students to call them for the smallest things.
“We get some of the goofiest phone calls,” Greiter said “My toilet’s overflowing, what channel is the Super Bowl on, do you take the cardboard out from under the pizza when putting it in the oven, you know, things like that. Call us for everything.”
He did say that people can send their questions to their twitter page @ISUPD, but that students should use their number because the twitter page isn’t always monitored.
Grieter also warned that the transition, especially in Iowa, of many students from small towns to Ames entails some surprises. Students are surprised when they get a parking ticket. Students are surprised when they didn’t lock their car and things were stolen.
Thieves, in a way, target Ames because they know it has kids from small towns who don’t lock their cars. That isn’t to say that someone deserves to have things stolen, but people should be aware that their actions have consequences.