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Confiscated goods: What happens to campus contraband?
January 24, 2013
A reader wrote to us and posed an interesting question a several weeks ago: “What happens to the contraband that Lycoming College security confiscates from students?”
This question intrigued me. Although I am sure we have all heard students joke about security guards smoking “jays” after hours or taking the alcohol home with them, I was skeptical that this was true (or even possible).
To set the record straight, I set up an appointment with Donn Troutman, the Director of Safety and Security, and John Ring, a shift supervisor. The two men were more than happy to answer any questions that we had and provide us with some useful advice.
We discussed what happens when security officers confiscate contraband from students. First on the list of confiscated contraband was alcohol. When an underage student or a student in a dry dorm is caught with alcohol by security, the security officer is required to fill out a confiscation form noting exactly what was taken as well as provide photo documentation. Ring and Troutman both laughed to us that on any given night of the weekend the Safety and Security office smells just like the Cell Block due to the large amount of alcohol they dispose of down the drain.
The next two issues that came up were those of knives and drugs. Almost all knives that have been confiscated were cooking knives owned by our culinary-inclined students. Lycoming security locks them up in their office for safe-keeping but will generally relinquish them to the owner if they agree to return the blade home. Lycoming doesn’t permit any student to have a knife of over five inches on campus.
For any drug-users hoping to find the mythical store of confiscated drugs on campus, give it up. When security confiscates drugs (harmless or otherwise), they put them into a sealed bag, return them to their office, and lock them up in safe. Then they write an incident report and deliver it to Dean Miller and Kate Heiser, the Director of Residential Life. Finally, our security contacts the Lycoming county district attorney, who then notifies a detective to retrieve the contraband from security.
Dan Miller is adamant that security thoroughly details all drug-related issues, from writing incident reports, to taking photos of the contraband and contacting local authorities, so that there is a clean and connected trail of evidence.
What happens to you if you get caught with contraband in your possession?
Well, many things could happen. However, a decision to prosecute for possession of drugs is usually made by the detective who picks up the contraband from security. According to Troutman, Williamsport’s detectives have realized that it isn’t worth their time to prosecute a student for smoking a little Mary Jane.
Don’t get too optimistic though. If students get caught with an ounce of weed, some coke, or your ADD best friend’s Adderall, they’ll almost definitely be prosecuted.
The police aren’t the only authorities students might have to deal with. Lycoming doesn’t endorse or even turn a blind eye to illegal substances. If students get caught, they’ll definitely have to explain themselves to Dean Miller and also might have to meet with the Director of Resident Life, the Director of Safety and Security, and even the school psychologist.
Be smart, kids. Stay in school, drink your milk, and don’t do drugs.