While there are slight differences on how Campus Public Safety and the the Forest Grove Police Department handle a situation involving a minor in possession citation, the underlying problem is the same–minors consuming alcohol. Students may not understand the consequences until they are found in violation themselves.
When a person under 21 is found in possession of alcohol, has consumed or smells of alcohol, they are in violation of the law and could receive a MIP. If a student is cited on campus, the university handles the situation internally and only CPS will be notified.
If a student is cited for an MIP, a $250 citation would be given to a minor in violation of the law and he or she would have to appear in court to pay the fine. Violations cited on campus are recorded on a student’s university record through the Office of Student Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct keeps track of how many times a student receives a MIP during the school year. Depending on the scenario, the university has the authority to raise the consequences to the next level, including an alcohol program or suspension.
Once a violation has occurred, CPS is obligated to remedy the situation.
“Our goal is to make sure everyone that is involved in any situation is safe,” said Leading Supervising Safety Officer Jerry Rice.
Punishments are not necessarily the same if a student is found in violation off campus.
“If a student is off campus, they would have to deal with the Forest Grove Police Department,” said Rice.
In light of some rumors, it is not true that if a student makes it back on campus they are not capable of getting a MIP from a police officer.
“Students would still have to face the citation from law enforcement and also a repercussion with the school for being on campus with a MIP,” said Forest Grove Police Department Captain Michael Herb.
The police department has no boundary that differentiates an action an officer is able to enforce.
“We have alcohol sensors and are capable of detecting the presence of alcohol,” said Herb. “Once we get a call of a noise violation, disturbance or MIP, there is a zero tolerance policy.”
There are different levels of sanctions that are involved when dealing with a MIP. If a person is under 18 and it is their first MIP, he or she has the opportunity to take an online alcohol class with a guardian’s consent. If a person were older than 18, he or she would have to appear in municipal court and pay the fine.
“The [first] violation does not establish a criminal record, but it does go on a personal record to keep track of the number of MIP citations,” said Herb.
If a minor has no other offenses within a six-month period, he or she has the option to enter the online program that costs $100 and $55 for the class and get their first MIP dismissed from their record.
“If they do not comply with taking the class, they might have to pay the full $266 fine and it would be logged as their first MIP,” said Herb.
A second MIP within a six-month period could be more expensive.
“He or she would get fined up to $266 for the second MIP and could potentially get nailed for the first offense,” said Herb.
Depending on the situation, a minor would be required to go to a several month-long state sponsored treatment program costing from $600-$800. In addition, he or she would have to pay for any additional fines.
“If the program is successfully completed for a first MIP and it was outside a six-month period, it would get treated as a first MIP,” said Herb. “In general, any other MIP that follows a first citation, the ‘leeway’ is gone.”
Herb explained that an officer only has the authority to stop someone if they have indicators that they are under the influence. Officers are not allowed to force anybody to talk to them, if he or she does not want to.