Welcome, students: Here's how to avoid getting an arrest record or an MIP before you graduate
Welcome students! Whether you are a freshman or a returning student, Ann Arbor and the surrounding area welcomes you. Do not worry, I warned all the locals that you were coming last week and they are ready to enrich your total educational experience while you are residing with us. There are, however, a few things you should remember as you embark on what may be the most fun, memorable and, relatively speaking, carefree years of your life.
Brianne Bowen | AnnArbor.com
There is bound to be a street-closing party on Arbor, Oakland or Greenwood streets and at various other locations surrounding Central Campus. The University of Michigan Central Campus is the area around “The Diag”—you there, freshman in the back playing with your iPhone, you have got a lot to learn while you are here including the local lingo that the hundreds of thousands of students who came before you planted on Ann Arbor and “the U” over the years, so pay attention.
At those huge parties and on the streets around such large gatherings you are bound to meet my brothers and sisters in blue. The Ann Arbor Police Department, where I proudly served for almost 27 years, and the University of Michigan Police Department are your friends and are there to help you, when you need it, 24/7 and 365 days a year.
The blue lights around the downtown and campus areas, are emergency phones in case you or someone else needs immediate police, fire or medical response and your cellphone battery is dead or, heaven forbid, you left it lying around unattended and it was stolen.
Should the police make contact with you, instead of you calling them, please listen to what they are telling you. They have done this before and know of what they are speaking. Pay attention, do as the officer says and things will go much more smoothly.
Do not try to be barley beverage bolstered Clarence Darrow or Oliver Wendell Holmes on the streets. You may think you know the law, but I promise you the men and women with badges on their chests know it better and their minds are not dulled by the brain-cell inhibiting effects of alcohol, other chemicals or “medicines.” Instead of embarking on the greatest legal speech or tirade about constitutional law that you will ever live to regret—just go along with the officer’s program.
If you do not do what the usually kind officer tells you to do, you run the risk of ticket or “code violation” or worse yet “legal jewelry” also known as—or “a.k.a.” in police abbreviation—handcuffs. If your particular brand of partying, defiance, civil protest, criminal or drunken behavior has placed you in handcuffs, please remember not to twist your wrists.
Handcuffs are made of case hardened steel in most cases. The opening your wrists fit into is oval shaped, like your wrist. If you try to twist your wrist in the handcuff, it will feel like the officer pushed a magical electronic button to torture your wrist bones when the officer has done nothing.
Again the handcuff opening is oval or elliptical shaped not round and circular. If you are having problems understanding the difference in those shapes, perhaps you could ask the engineering student down the hall to explain or attend the office hours of some “TA”—that’s teaching assistant, freshman learn the lingo, dude—in the “Med Sci”—Medical Science—building.
The TA might even be able to show you the elliptical nature of the wrist on a real human cadaver—how cool is that? This isn’t the frog or worm dissections from Mrs. Brock’s high school biology class, Skippy. Nope, this is a world-class university gross human anatomy lab my friend and that cadaver was a real live walking talking human being a short time ago.
Incidentally Mrs. Brock was not only a great Ann Arbor Public Schools biology teacher and my biology teacher, but also a valued Ann Arbor Police Department volunteer for many years. Thanks Mrs. Brock. You, “Hoby Jack,” Ro and the rest of the volunteers ROCK!
At any rate, students, you do not want to find yourself in handcuffs or with a criminal record when you leave Ann Arbor, as that will adversely affect your ability to use your diploma and get a job. So here are a few things you should remember.
There is no problem that you will encounter, while here in college, that some other student has not had before. If you have a problem, reach out and get help. The university provides a number of counseling services for any kind of issue you might encounter. Check them out online or call the United Way 2-1-1 telephone line, for help figuring out who to call for help.
Problems usually do not just go away—catch problems while they are small, before they become overwhelming.
Students: remember handheld electronic devices or small valuable items are common targets for thieves. Stolen Apple products, for instance, are worth $100 in the dope house. So in regard to your valuables Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors you will hopefully see that again.
Even though this is America and you have the right to go almost anywhere you want when you want to walk in groups at night for safety's sake.
The legal drinking age is 21 in the State of Michigan. A minor in possession—“MIP”—of alcohol violation is a misdemeanor.
Possession of marijuana, without a medical marijuana card, is a civil infraction and $25 fine if you get caught by the Ann Arbor Police. If any other police agency catches you, in like circumstances, it is a misdemeanor violation.
Possession of uncapped alcohol on the streets or consuming alcohol in public are both against city ordinance.
If you are having a noisy party, do not think the police are just going to go away if you fail to open the door when they knock. The police have experienced this before and have fill-in-the-blank search warrants and judges on board to sign them. Open the door or it may come flying off the hinges, while your sound amplification equipment and party favors find their way to the Ann Arbor Police Department property room as evidence—and everyone underage and drinking at the party is going home with an MIP ticket. If you are drinking mixed drinks at a party, use caution. Those drinks are about 90 percent alcohol and that can lead to serious lapses in judgment, unconsciousness and even death. Ladies, please be especially careful in this regard, because many of the sexual assaults in the city are “acquaintance” or “date rape” situations that involve excessive alcohol or drug consumption.
Please use the trash receptacles around town. Do not litter our streets and sidewalks with Solo cups.
Ann Arbor is called the “City of Trees.” The trees, bushes, shrubs and grass in the city do not need watering; so do not confuse them with a urinal.
Finally, remember your college years are something really special and will make memories to last a lifetime. Make sure those are fond memories and welcome to a great community.
Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for AnnArbor.com.