Change in Policy for Students Caught Drinking

The end of the “Drunk Tank” era means students must strongly consider the potential consequences of their actions on campus. Student reporter, Xandy Green, spoke with Dick Martin, Chief of Campus Police about the shift in alcohol policy.

Listen to her story.



Q: Chief, how has the start of the semester been for you and the rest of the officers with everything that has been going on?

A: It’s a pretty typical start to the year … It usually takes [students] a little bit to get them back into academic mode.

Q: I know that there have been a couple alcohol and drug busts. How do you and the other officers go about trying to find those students who are breaking the rules?

A: Sometimes we just walk right into them, seeing a lot of activity going on in and out of someone’s dorm room. Or maybe it’s a RA or RD that comes across it. Occasionally we’ll have someone call up, saying they can’t get any sleep because someone next to me is having a big party. We always investigate no matter how it comes to us.

Q: Now that the “Drunk Tank” in GB is gone, you have to work alongside Demorest Police with any instances involving underage drinking. How does that change any procedure you had in the past?

A: I don’t like to call it the Drunk Tank. We just like to call it a “safe room.”  We just want to make sure the alcohol gets out of their system before they have access to their vehicles or get themselves into any more trouble. But we’ve always worked with Demorest Police. Although within the past year we hadn’t called them on alcohol cases, but this just goes along with how we’ve done things in the past.

Q: Do you see the Holding Cell coming back to Piedmont?

A: I’ll be honest with you: If I came in tomorrow morning and they would have used the safe room, I wouldn’t be upset; I don’t think the administration would be upset. I still see it as an option. It would be a rare case where we would use that room back there, but I hope that when we review this, everyone will get a citation, everyone will get the chance to go to city court. In my opinion, I hope that our officers and Demorest officers will decide that this person can go to that room and this person doesn’t.

If you walk into a room with three guys and a six pack of beer with each of them having one beer, that’s different than if there’s four people in a room with two cases of beer. Right now we’re going to call Demorest on everybody, but the President used the word “temporary.”

Q: Do you think it’s appropriate for underage drinkers and people who break drug laws to go to jail and have it on their permanent record?

A: Well, that’s what happens to other people. Are we some special people that are exempt from that? It’s unfortunate, I will say that. People don’t realize when they do these things that jail is one of those consequences they may face. But if they choose to do that, that is really not my problem. That’s their problem that they’re going to have to deal with. That’s one of the issues that people don’t think about.

I was young once, believe it or not, and I thought the same way: I’m always going to get away with what I’m doing. I’m never going to get caught, but unfortunately we all know it doesn’t work that way. As far as if it goes on their record, if it does, it does. There’s nothing I can do about it.

Q: Do you have any tips for Piedmont students to stay out of trouble?

A: Yeah, learn the rules, know the laws, and obey them as best you can. I understand young people are going to test the waters and probably do some things they shouldn’t do. The worst part to me is you know you’re doing wrong, and when you get caught it’s time to start fixing things. It’s not the time to give the officer a hard time or tell us a lie. The best thing to do is when you’ve made a mistake, start correcting it.