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Alcohol: What’s Really Happening

Hanover Police Bage.jpgThe Valley News had an extended piece on Saturday on the Town of Hanover’s latest efforts in its zealous enforcement of the State of New Hampshire’s underage drinking laws.

The internal dynamic here is one on which we have already commented: for all intents and purposes, the College’s S&S force no longer hands students over to the Town police, having followed erstwhile Dean of the College Tom Crady’s and now President Kim’s instructions to behave like all of the other Ivy League campus police forces; however, in response, given that its arrest stats had plummeted for a period, H-Po has decided to ramp up enforcement.

S&S badge.jpgThe existence of these respective policies is borne out by the federal government’s newly reported Clery Act statistics:

H-Po’s alcohol arrests in 2009 on and near the Dartmouth campus soared:

2007: 68

2008: 77

2009: 122

While College disciplinary actions for alcohol violations plummeted:

2007: 122

2008: 44

2009: 24

(These latter figures continue a longer trend: in 2005, 221 Dartmouth students were picked up by Safety & Security for alcohol violations; in 2006 the figure dropped to 153.)

It remains to be seen how H-Po’s decision to no longer arrest heavily intoxicated students who have been transported by ambulance to DHMC will affect the overall statistics. Under changes announced this year, first-time offenders sent to the hospital will now be directed straight to the Town’s diversion program without an arrest record.

Conclusion: The Town of Hanover’s enforcement attitude is driven by the intransigence of Town Police Chief Nick Giaccone, an otherwise engaging and thoughtful guy. Only when he retires, and a new chief is chosen, hopefully with some care, will we have a chance at an alcohol enforcement policy wherein the Town Police intelligently uses its right of discretion.

Note: If you are looking for information on alcohol enforcement and other on-campus crime statistics, here’s where to get the Clery data.

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