Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DUI Dishonor Roll

It's tempting to assume that simply because UMass is back in session that the rate of drunk driving arrests will escalate dramatically with the influx of students.

And last week the arrest rate for that concerning category was 100%.

But fortunately that was only one person, although Stefanie Ibarguen, age 20, is a UMass student; and interestingly enough was stopped by Amherst Police Department early Sunday morning on UMass turf for speeding near Kennedy high rise dorm, on Massachusetts Avenue.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps if the town of Amherst and APD let taxi companies operate without constant harassment it might be easier for some of these DUI's to turn into safe rides home.
The real conflict is that if the DUI count is lowered, due to the safe alternatives, then there is less demand for police coverage and less overtime.
I speak from experience, I used to drive a cab in Amherst but quit because of this harassment. An Amherst officer once said to me "I will jam you up all day if I see you drop anyone off here." Do they threaten any other local businesses like this?

Larry Kelley said...

The early Wild Wild West days of cab proliferation (prior to inspections) gave the industry a bad name.

I think the new ride share program at UMass is going to be a big success, and you will see about half the cab companies give up the Amherst market.

Anonymous said...

I suppose that's true. Just read your previous post about the Sobrio app.
It could go either way though honestly. The UMass weekend drunks are like the walking dead. They'll swarm your car, puke in the back seat, spill drinks, drop lit cigarets in the car not to mention the amount of miles you put on the vehicle driving back and fourth all night. I just cant imagine anyone wanting to subject their personal car to such abuse.

It'd be nice if you didn't have to be a student to be a driver for the app. I'd buy a minivan right now if I could use the app.

Walter Graff said...

It's a shame. There are so many people offering taxi apps out there. If the cabs got together and set themselves up, they'd see dramatic increases in their revenue. In an area where 80% of students got to bed with their phone, apps are the way to go for the taxi industry here.

Anonymous said...

The issue Larry is that neither the cops nor the town really want to have anyone driving the UM kids from party to party -- while the flat-rate taxis provided a sober driver to go to the party, the problem was that they provided drivers who weren't afraid of being arrested for OUI (as they weren't) and hence permitted large groups of students to show up in various venues.

It's real simple -- you have saturation patrols in the neighborhoods where the party houses are and stop any vehicle driven by a young person (which is illegal) and bust them for anything you can find.

If you try hard enough, you can find something wrong with anyone's vehicle and/or the way they are driving it -- particularly if you get creative and or just make things up, and it doesn't take long before the targeted group (be it UM students or African-Americans) realize tha they'd best not go to certain places because of the police.

The APD thus increases the number of drunk drivers on the road -- but they are applauded for both arresting them and for reducing the number of what ARE lawful assemblies.

Larry Kelley said...

Or not.

Anonymous said...

No crash was involved.

Anonymous said...

Does Amherst Police have jurisdiction on UMass state property? Why would the young lady be stopped at her dormitory by a town cop?

Anonymous said...

Does Amherst Police have jurisdiction on UMass state property?

Notwithstanding the grammar and other issues, this is a legitimate question.

UMass is now considered a municipality for law enforcement purposes -- state law explicitly states this -- it is how the mutual aid became possible.

But a municipality has PRIMARY jurisdiction within it's jurisdiction -- which raises the question of why the APD and UMPD are doing PRIMARY law enforcement in the other's jurisdiction.

Is that allowed? Could Springfield and West Springfield go into the other's community and stop vehicles there? Something's telling me "no" -- they can go *with* the other department's officer, but not alone.

Larry Kelley said...

I did ask about that.

But these days I don't always get an answer.

Anonymous said...

They could have followed her from off campus.

Walter Graff said...

It's a state law that an officer only has jurisdiction to effect an arrest within the geographical boundaries of the municipality for which he works. UMASS is in Amherst so an Amherst police officer has the ability to stop a vehicle anywhere in the boundaries of the town. I know the police chiefs of the state are trying to get the law changed so that any officer can travel out of the boundaries of his jurisdiction for a stop or arrest. Leave it to Assachusetts to stop cops from doing their job. Like the ridiculous law that says an officer can't stop someone for not wearing a seat belt unless their is another violation first. Or that teens can't text or talk on phones but adults can talk all they want.

The Juggernaut said...

Jurisdiction is important Walter. I certainly wouldn't want an Amherst cop stopping and arresting me here in society, over 2 hours away. I wouldn't mind the change if cooperation was allowed for bordering, towns, but this isn't really needed either. With today's radio technology, and shared databases police can easily let other towns know of an offender in their area.

Walter Graff said...

Hmmm... Let's see. A police officer is off duty and driving his car in a town other than the one he works in. He is struck from behind by a motorist who is drunk. Seeing that the driver is wasted, he pulls the keys out of the ignition of the drunk mans car and tells the driver to wait in his car until an on duty police officer from the town they are in arrives.

Minutes later, a police car arrive and the officer askes the intoxicated driver for his license and registration. So drunk is the driver that he instead hands him a pack of cigarettes.

The driver is arrested and blows a .12 on the breathalyzer and was booked for what would turn out to be his only his seventh conviction for DUI.

Good police work right? NO!!!!!! All thrown out of court because the off duty cop was out of his jurisdiction.

The courts logic is "Outside his jurisdictional boundaries, a police officer stands as a private citizen, and if not in fresh and continued pursuit of a suspect, an arrest by him is valid only if a private citizen would be justified in making the arrest under the same circumstances."*

What you have is laws preventing police from doing their jobs and police reluctant to do anything that could get them in trouble on duty or off. That could include stopping you from getting robbed or carjacked if it happens outside of a town line and an off-duty officer witnesses this happen in the car next to him.

Assachusetts at it's best. One of the few states that still relies on outdated rules and arcane laws that hurt it's citizens, not helps them.

* 77 Mass.App.Ct. 903 (2010)