Campus drug culture: BUPD a catch-all for monitoring drug use

Throughout the series on drug usage, the most ignored group has been the one that the most people probably associate with dealing with drugs; the police.

There may, however, be a reason for that.

The Bradley Police don’t end up doing that much about drugs on campus.

“We’ve seen a rise in the referrals for using and possession, but we don’t end up dealing with that a lot,” Lt. Troy Eeten said. “As far as officers arresting people with drugs, that makes up a very small percentage of our drug arrests.”

The way Eeten sees it, that might be a good thing. The police department ends up picking up most of their arrests from traffic violations and catching the occasional person on the street. Other than that, representatives of the department say that Residence Hall staff does a great job dealing with student drug usage on campus.

“They do an excellent job,” said Sgt. Rick Hutchison. “They’re trained to recognize and respond. They do a fantastic job.”

Hutchison is in a uniquely qualified position to say so. He’s dealt personally with drug cases on campus but he also trains Residence Hall staff to be able to locate marijuana by smell and to recognize paraphernalia and other substances and items that might be in a searched room.

“I started to gather up paraphernalia, really anything that had to do with drug usage, you know, fabric sheets and things, and during the hall staff training in the fall based on what past police and hall staff and I had found, we show many things that are associated with drug use,” Hutchison said. “I try to give them anything that would help them recognize the scent. We have these fake pills you can light so that they know what it smells like and we have them sign a sheet saying they’ve had this training if they for some reason get called into court. It gives them more means to say they had probable cause.”

This training allows Residence Hall staff to be able to recognize marijuana, and the contract that all dorm residents signed at the beginning of any fall semester allows staff to investigate rooms. This contract, however, does not extend to police officers, who must still follow search and seizure laws that require a warrant.

“We have to follow search and seizure laws that every other law enforcement group is governed by,” Eeten said. “It’s just that their latitude is a lot greater than ours.”

Police are allowed to enter when more illicit drugs may be present in a room. They are notified when other drugs are found or when there is any evidence  there may be more marijuana in a room then what may be considered for personal use.

Ultimately, the Police Department said while there may be a drug problem on campus, they do not believe it is as widespread or prevalent as it was reported in the last two issues of The Scout.

“I believe that there is a drug culture to a point because it’s so much more acceptable in the areas that some student come from,” Hutchison said. “They have to re-educate themselves that this is illegal. I don’t think it’s a huge problem … It was portrayed in The Scout as you can get in at any place and at any time and that’s probably true, but the extent of what was said probably isn’t the case.”

Eeten also said he had some doubts that the extent of the large scale drug dealing that was discussed in the Feb. 18 issue of The Scout was happening simply because he said that he thinks it would have been caught by now.

“If they had it shipped in from a friend or something, that might just be a story that gets told around,” Eeten said. “I’ve been here 20 years and I can count the number of drug arrests of quantity, meaning more than a quarter of pound of marijuana, on one hand.”