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Drunk driving arrest rates on campus vary by school



08December2011 The Western Michigan University Police have approved a new contract with the administration. ( Special to the Gazette / John A. Lacko )

It is common for alumni to spar over which university had the best football team, less common however, is the discussion of the disparity in drunk driving enforcement on campus.

Michigan State University police arrested 182 motorists for drunk driving in 2011, four times greater than the 45 arrests made by the University of Michigan police.

However, if you want to look at who gets the most bang for their buck, ie arrests per officer, Western Michigan University’s smaller campus department surpassed them both, according to MLive Media Group.

(Read more: Second Offense OWI)

“Yes, we make a lot of (OWI) arrests,” WMU Deputy Chief Blaine Kalafut said of his department’s 100 cases last year. “But if the inference is we’re only arresting a lot of students, that’s not true. I would say it’s probably in the vicinity of 50-50.”

Deputized through the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, WMU’s 24 officers have their hands full with major roadways passing through or adjacent to campus.

“West Michigan Avenue runs west of campus, where a lot of student housing is,” Kalafut said. “And on Stadium (Drive) you have a lot of establishments.”

(Read more: Third Offense OWI)

Little brother in the matter, is Grand Valley State University Police Department, whose 15 officers averaged less than one drunken-driving arrest each in 2011.

“I think it would be fair to say that the students we attract here at Grand Valley aren’t as invested in alcohol consumption,” GVSU police Capt. Brandon DeHaan said. “That doesn’t mean all, but when you look at our crime statistics and crime statistics from similar-sized colleges, we compare favorably.”

Police identify a number of factors to explain the disparity at MSU and U-M, including differences in traffic and targeted patrols.

If you compare enrollment, you will discover that MSU’s 48,000 students last fall were just 5,000 greater than U-M’s. However, you will also discover that MSU employed 66 campus police officers compared to U-M’s 49.

“I can’t speak for the University of Michigan, but for us drunk driving is an area we focus on,” MSU police Lt. Randy Holton said. “That’s a targeted enforcement area for us.”

Reserved for the fall and spring, MSU police officers are regularly assigned exclusively to shifts to enforce drunken-driving. The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office deputized campus police at MSU, giving them jurisdiction throughout the county.

Roadways designed for heavy traffic, like Michigan Avenue, Harrison, Hagadorn, and Grand River Avenue are the site of most of the departments drunken-driving arrests.

(Read more: What Happens to My Driver’s License When Convicted for Drunk Driving?)

Because roadways in Ann Arbor are frequently congested with traffic, police are unable to execute the type of drunken-driving enforcement common along major roads in East Lansing.
“Our officers tend to focus on activities going on on our campus grounds and in our buildings as opposed to traffic enforcement,” Brown said. “We tend to leave that to the city and others.”

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Even for a DUI first offense, you face serious potential punishments. Depending on the judge you draw—and we know which ones have a history of tough sentencing—jail time is a real possibility.

What’s more, in cities throughout Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb Counties, you’re up against hardened prosecutors and career politicians who are measured by the frequency and severity of their convictions. Especially with drunk drivers.

This is not the time to experiment with self-representation or plead to the charges “just to get it over with.” You need the expertise of a lawyer that specializes in OWI and DUI cases.

At Rudoi Law, we have the OWI (DUI) expertise you need. We understand the criminal system. We know the defense strategies that have won in court. And we understand the judges and prosecutors working in lower michigan today. We’ll give you the tough defense you deserve, all while demystifying a complex process.

What’s more, we understand the needs of our clients. Battling for your future can be emotionally draining. And for many people, a first offense DUI is the only trouble they’ve had with the law. That’s one of the reasons why we work so hard. We believe one mistake shouldn’t mar a lifetime of work or cost you your freedom. If You or a loved one is facing drunk driving charges contact Rudoi Law today.