Police give tips

Logan Raschke, Staff Writer

By Logan Raschke Staff Reporter | @DEN_News Eastern Illinois University Police Chief Kent Martin said when it comes to contacting the police when students need help, no time is a bad time. Martin along with Makenzie Reynolds, a graduate student and student worker for the UPD, offered advice for students including what to do if an underage student is drinking and needs help.

The Good Samaritan Law protects underage drinkers from prosecution if they contact university police when there’s an emergency, Martin said. “If you’re under 21 and have been drinking and call to get help for someone, you won’t get in trouble for underage drinking … if you stay on site and cooperate,” he said. But Reynolds said a possible reason for student reluctance to contact 911 in case of emergencies is the fear of being a burden or students may fear that “the university won’t take (their emergencies) seriously.”

However, Martin said even if students are afraid of getting in trouble themselves, such as for underage drinking, they need to call for help. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “We’re available 24/7 … We’d much rather come out and deal with (an emergency) than have a situation deteriorate, get worse or expand because we weren’t able to get to it in a timely manner.”

In case students ever find themselves in an emergency on campus and do not have access to their cell phones, there are emergency telephones scattered all throughout campus that anyone can use, Martin said. He said that the emergency telephones all operate similarly to dialing “911” on your cell phone. “(The emergency telephones) have buttons, speakers, and lights. The lights flash and it automatically connects (the caller) to a 911 operator,” Martin said.

If the 911 operators cannot hear the caller on the emergency telephone, the university police are always dispatched to the site, Martin said. Martin also said there are several rules and policies to keep in mind when it comes to crime, emergencies and parking tickets.

One crime the university police department encounters frequently is theft. Theft makes up a large chunk of crime on campus, Martin said, but preventing it is easy. “A majority of theft is theft of unsecured property,” he said. “(These cases are) crimes of opportunity. (Thieves) look for things quick and easy to steal.” Martin said he suggests securing property and keeping dorms locked all the time to keep valuables safe from thieves.

Smoking, along with stealing, is prohibited anywhere on campus, including E-cigarettes, said Martin. Additionally, he said that students are not allowed to have open containers of alcohol on campus. Small amounts of alcohol are OK for students to have who are 21 and older living in dorms or other college residences. But kegs and hard alcohol, like whiskey, gin and vodka, are prohibited on campus, he said.

Martin said alcohol consumption and sexual assault are often correlated. Keeping a close eye on friends who are consuming alcohol is important for students to prevent themselves from becoming victims of sexual assault, he said. “At parties, protect your friends,” he said. “Know who’s pouring your drinks.”

Martin said another necessary thing for all students to understand is where they can and cannot park. He said that the university police monitor all lots carefully, but the first ticket students get is usually voided. Otherwise, students have five days to pay the ticket before the price is doubled. These rules and standards rarely change, he said. Martin said if students abide by this general code, they are more than likely going to stay out of trouble with the campus police and enjoy their time at Eastern. “If you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it here,” he said. Logan Raschke can be contacted at 581-2812 or at [email protected].