Archive | February, 2013

A Proposal for a Change in Campus Security Policy

28 Feb

To:  Don Enloe, Director of Campus Safety
From:  Scott Charles Sheppard

Date:  February 27, 2013

RE:  Campus Security Policy on Writing Up Students and Sending Students to Detox for alcohol and drug use

 

Campus Security at the University of Denver has so far in my experience here seemed to have mostly a negative presence in the eyes of most students attending here and is something I find contrary to how students should feel towards the service granted to us by the University.  Just as police operate in the real world, we expect campus security to keep us safe and for the most part look out for us as a whole community, to react to situations with rational not just automatic responses triggered by certain situations.  Campus security has a huge presence on campus as I can’t walk to class without seeing at least one security car driving by but its presence is stuck in a limbo between good and bad for me and many other students.  We all appreciate the call booths around campus keeping the line open to campus security for anyone at any time of the day to call for assistance in any risky situation where one feels threatened, and their aid in returning stolen bikes and other property, but many students only see the side of campus security that without much scrutiny at all will send a student to detox (or rather the drunk tank) and ruin their night, their week, and possibly their future.

I would argue that in many instances of students being cited for alcohol abuse and/or being sent to detox the campus security may have been overzealous in their involvement and justification for action upon those students.  Personally I do understand the problem arising with my argument before I start it; students are breaking the law drinking under age, or could be dangerously drunk regardless of age putting the university at risk of legal action if they were to come to harm on campus.  As I have not personally been cited by campus security I have witnessed and had close friends involved in several incidents with them and many times it seems have been unjustly dealt with.  I would argue that in some situations campus security looks to seek out trouble rather than deal with it when presented, and I don’t believe this to be a positive way of how they should be dealing with student drinking.

Many time campus security has been seen staking out halls and towers lobbies essentially waiting for drunk individuals who are coming back from parties and/or bars effectively creating a situation in which students are scared to return to their dorm rooms for fear of being caught.  As the aim of campus security is keep campus safe it doesn’t seem that they should be instilling the opposite feelings towards students here by creating the environment in which a student must fear any interaction with them.  

I interviewed a friend of mine whom had an encounter with campus security earlier this year.  An RA noticed he was sick in the bathroom after a night of partying and alerted campus security to the situation.  This is a clear sign that a student may need help, yet not without first assessing the situation.  When campus security arrived my friend was done being sick and very alert and able to have a conversation with them undeterred from alcohol.  He was able to talk clearly enough to prove to them he was not a risk, behaved normally, and asked simply to go to bed.  Campus security in turn responded by telling him he could either deal with them or the real police.  At this point he decided to just abide with them and ended up being sent to detox.  Unexpectedly though he was unable to go because it was too full, and they had to send him to the hospital.  At the hospital he blew a BAC of .07%, still illegal for underage drinkers but nowhere near the amount of alcohol one requires in their blood stream to go to detox, and because he went to the hospital instead of the police station got a bill of $2000.00.  I feel like all of this could have been avoided with a little bit more discretion from campus security and less of an automated reaction to dealing with intoxicated students.

I feel like the school and student can both benefit from this slightly changing policy on taking students to detox.  If students continue to get in trouble and by eventually having to deal with DPD as the campus security warned my friend students will get more MIPs on their records.  Sometimes seemingly unnecessary predicaments that students find themselves in could be solved by instituting a new system to look after the students in their rooms rather than ship them off campus.  A MIP on a student’s record could hurt their chances of jobs after college, and probation only prolongs the time in which they are required to study there costing them more money and wasting more time not in the job force or pursuing whatever path they choose.  This provides not only a better chance for all students to succeed but reflects well on the status of the University as a hole when more of our graduates do better and better.  There will be a better relationship between the campus security and residents, and a safer community as well.  If not the first time we might institute as a middle ground a three strike rule for students.  

Overall I think a change is necessary on campus for the way in which these situations are handled.  Without getting outrageous and with safety and security still considered a priority. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drug Legalization, Cartel Violence, and a Safer America

14 Feb

     Drugs should be legal, simple as that.

     A government has no place to regulate what a person decides to do with their bodies. Governments have every right to control the substances so children can’t get them, or to make it illegal for people to drive under the influence as these are both dangerous for the people involved, but a government has no right to make drugs illegal.  If a person is stupid enough to use some of the drugs that have been proving deadly, then let them be that stupid.  My personal opinions aside, there is actually a very reasonable set of possibilities that would occur if drugs were legalized that nobody would be opposed to having.  The foremost benefit being a huge drop in criminal activity and in turn less violence over drugs.  

     Here is segment of a news report by Vice telling the tale of Mitt Romney’s Mormon family in Mexico currently warring with cartels.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1y41mYuwU0

     This segment is on kidnappings and according to Vice currently 49 are happening daily.  

     For as long as I can remember cartels hailing from Mexico have been becoming an ever growing problem for the United States southern-most borders and our countries’ DEA’s effectiveness.  The ever increasing violence has made headlines almost weekly at times and our neighbors to the south have witnessed many horrific violent acts in public.  The Zeta cartel’s leader, “Z-40”, has recently been described as “violent to the point of Sadism”, by ABC News journalists Kreider and Schone.   The violence seen in Mexico which spills over into the United States via gangs and drug dealers is currently present solely because drugs are illegal.  Which brings me to another topic of debate; should drugs be legalized in the States?  Well now that marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many states are beginning to have medical marijuana programs we have seen some changes in drug policy in the US, but only on a state level.  With our state legislatures and our federal government in such dispute over these laws it only opens more gaps for criminals to take advantage of the disorder and make abundances of money off of illicit drugs.  The DEA, a huge agency with an annual budget of $3 billion (Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Public Affairs), with as much as they do to take drugs and people associated with them off the street still aren’t even close to solving the crime problem.

     Here is a video of DEA agent and a police officer debating the legalization of marijuana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krlb3UD1sCM.

     My home state of Oregon just did not pass the bill to legalize marijuana unlike Colorado and Washington, but it has decriminalized the drug in amounts that are under an ounce in measurement.  Polls taken in California have shown that decriminalization of just marijuana has decreased juvenile arrests by 20% between 2010 and 2011, (Alternet, Ferriss).  In 2011 numbers of juveniles arrested for pot dropped from approximately 15,000 down to a little less than 6,000 with possessions under an ounce being charged with a fine rather than jail time (AlterNet, Ferriss).  Not only does this approach keep more kids (adults as well) out of prison but it decreases at least some of the intense violence surrounding the drug trades investments in marijuana as it makes it less profitable due to its increased legality.  With notorious cartel leaders like Z-40 less interested in the marijuana trade because of the availability of it legally in the states, crime rate will drop along with the blood spilled over the control of the ganja trade.  But that is just one of many drugs the cartel is invested in.  What about the rest of them?      

     In Portugal a different approach on drugs and drug users has been taken with great success I might add.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, (LSE, Stevens), and treats drug addiction as a health problem not a criminal activity.  This has caused all criminal drug activity to cease and actually increased survival rate of drug addicts and improved their re-assimilation into the work force and society.  Now imagine for an instant if this policy was held in the USA.  How much less violence would take place in our streets and in the streets of Mexico.  How the money spent on the drug war could be spent on helping people with drug problems (which is also much cheaper) and other beneficial things for this country.  

     The facts are overwhelming in that we should follow in Portugal’s wake in implementing a completely new way to deal with drugs in a legal fashion.  Just as companies must change their approach to the market when sales are low and their policies out dated, we must change our policies concerning drugs or we will continue to lose the money we are dumping into the war on drugs and people will continue to suffer.    

 

 

 

 

Here are some links of relevant information that may be of interest:

http://civilliberty.about.com/od/drugpolicy/tp/War-on-Drugs-History-Timeline.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/12/26/portugals-drug-policy-pays-eyes-lessons/

Works Cited

     “Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rates by Stunning 20% in One Year.” Alternet. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.http://www.alternet.org/marijuana-decriminalization-drops-youth-crime-rates-stunning-20-one-year 

     “DEA Fact Sheet.” Drug Enforcement Agency Office of Public Affairs. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/1207_fact-sheet.pdf

     “Portuguese Drug Policy Shows That Decriminalisation Can Work, but Only alongside Improvements in Health and Social Policies.” EUROPP. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/12/10/portuguese-drug-policy-alex-stevens/

     KREIDER, RANDY, and MARK SCHONE. “New Zetas Cartel Leader Violent ‘To the Point of Sadism'” ABC News. ABC News Network, 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ruthless-drug-lord-takes-control-deadly-cartel/story?id=17455674

 

Drug Legalization, Cartel Violence, and a Safer America (DRAFT)

11 Feb

Drugs should be legal, simple as that.  A government as has no place to regulate what a person decides to do with their bodies.  Governments have every right to control the substances so children can’t get them, or to make it illegal for people to drive under the influence as these are both dangerous for the people involved, but a government has no right to make drugs illegal.  If a person is stupid enough to use some of the drugs that have been proving deadly, then let them be that stupid.  My personal opinions aside, there is actually a very reasonable set of possibilities that would occur if drugs were legalized that nobody would be opposed to having.  The first and foremost benefit being less criminal activity and less violence over drugs.  

Here is segment of a news report by Vice telling the tale of Mitt Romney’s Mormon family in Mexico currently warring with cartels.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1y41mYuwU0

This segment is on kidnappings and according to Vice currently 49 are happening daily.  

For as long as I can remember Cartel’s hailing from Mexico have been becoming an ever growing problem for the United States southern-most borders and our countries’ DEA’s effectiveness.  The ever increasing violence has made headlines almost weekly at times and our neighbors to the south.  The Zeta cartel’s leader, “Z-40”, has recently been described as “violent to the point of Sadism”, by ABC News journalists Kreider and Schone.   The violence seen in Mexico and which spills over into the United States via gangs and drug dealers is currently present solely because drugs are illegal.  Which brings me to another topic of debate, Should drugs be legalized in the States?  Well now that marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many states are beginning to have medical marijuana programs we have seen some changes in drug policy in the US, but only on a state level.  With our state legislatures and our federal government in such dispute over these laws it only opens more gaps for criminals to take advantage of the disorder and make abundances of money off of illicit drugs.  The DEA, a huge agency with an annual budget of $3 billion (Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Public Affairs), with as much as they do to take drugs and people associated with them off the street still aren’t even close to solving the crime problem.

Here is a video of DEA agent and a police officer debating the legalization of marijuana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krlb3UD1sCM.

My home state of Oregon just did not pass the bill to legalize marijuana unlike Colorado and Washington, but it has decriminalized the drug in amounts that are under an ounce in measurement.  Polls taken in California have shown that decriminalization of just marijuana has decreased juvenile arrests by 20% between 2010 and 2011, (Alternet, Ferriss).  In 2011 numbers of juvenile pot arrest dropped from approximately 15,000 down to a little less than 6,000 with possessions under an ounce being charged with a fine rather than jail time (AlterNet, Ferriss).  Not only does this approach keep more kids (adults as well) out of prison but it decreases at least some of the intense violence surrounding the drug trades investments in marijuana as it makes it less profitable due to its increased legality.  With notorious cartel leaders like Z-40 less interested in the marijuana trade because of the availibilty of it legally in the states, crime rate will drop along with the blood spilled over this illegal substance.  But that is just one of many drugs the cartel is invested in.  What about the rest of them?      

In Portugal a different approach on drugs and drug users has been taken with great success I might add.  Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001, (LSE, Stevens), and treats drug addiction as a health problem not a criminal activity.  This has caused all criminal drug activity to cease and actually increased survival rate of drug addicts and improved their re-assimilation into the work force and society.  Now imagine for an instant if this policy was held in the USA.  How much less violence would take place in our streets and in the streets of Mexico.  How the money spent on the drug war could be spent on helping people with drug problems (which is also much cheaper) and other beneficial things for this country.  The facts are overwhelming in that we should follow in Portugal’s wake in implementing a completely new way to deal with drugs in a legal fashion.   

 

http://www.alternet.org/marijuana-decriminalization-drops-youth-crime-rates-stunning-20-one-year 

http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/1207_fact-sheet.pdf

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/12/10/portuguese-drug-policy-alex-stevens/

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ruthless-drug-lord-takes-control-deadly-cartel/story?id=17455674