The Geneseo Village Police have recently incited controversy among students with augmented police presence in the village in an effort to work towards an incident-free year through increased vigilance and more frequent patrols.
Since the start of the semester, officers have been particularly firm regarding quality of life violations. These offenses include, but are not limited to, open container violations, underage drinking and fraudulent licenses.
Within the first two weeks of the semester, 70 Geneseo students were arrested for quality of life violations. Twenty-eight arrests were made for fraudulent licenses, 26 for underage drinking and 52 for failing to adhere to the open container policy.
An open container is typified as any unsealed alcoholic beverage, including cans and bottles. An individual that carries this open container onto public domain is subject to lawful repercussions.
"For those over 21 years of age, the penalty for violating the open container policy is a citation, often accompanied by a $25 fine," said Geneseo Village Police Chief Eric Osganian. Those under the age of 21, however, are subject to arrest for underage drinking and open container policy violations.
The seemingly high rate of student arrests can be attributed, in part, to a $20,000 Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Grant that was awarded to the village police department by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. These additional financial resources have allowed for an increase in patrols and police presence throughout the area.
Junior Rachel Friedman noted that the increased police presence has been very noticeable. "It seems like they're making a point," she said.
"I think they're [police] being a little too intense," said senior Kate Jordhamo. "They need to let students be students."
"I don't think it's fair that if you get in trouble off campus, it carries on campus," said a junior recently ticketed for underage drinking and an open container. On top of receiving a ticket from the village, the student received a ticket from the school and will be recorded.
While some students are wary of the frequent police patrols, others said that they believe that they are a practical measure.
"The police department has to set a precedent that it won't back down," said senior Gabriel Jensen.
"I think that the [police] policies may seem harsh, but they are definitely in the best interest of students who may be making bad decisions," said freshman Jenna Anderson.
Osganian said that police anticipate that the number of student arrests will dwindle with the drop in temperature in the months ahead, as snow and wind will force students and parties indoors.
As a Geneseo alumnus, Osganian said that he petitions college students to exercise caution and common sense when engaging in "extracurricular" activities.
"Keep parties reasonable, small and quiet," said Osganian. "Leave the cups at the party. Open containers are a red flag. Don't make yourself a target."