Following guidelines can ease police run-ins

Cody Francis

Every weekend at Kent State students unwind, relax and have fun. Some do it by visiting family, some do it by playing video games, some do nothing all weekend, some like to kick back and drink a few beers with friends. Maybe drinking a few beers turns into heading to a party or a bar afterwards. Sometimes what is intended to be a way to relieve stress can quickly turn into a run-in with the police.

The Kent State Student Legal Services Web site,, offers advice for students if confronted by the law. It also offers a “party guide” for those hosting or attending a party, door posters for inside and outside and an explanation of criminal rights.

“Sometimes weekends here can be party central,” said Lt. Paula Rossi of the Kent State Police Department. “Some people just don’t know what the laws are.”

So what can students do to stay out of trouble with the law? Rossi gave some tips to students on how to avoid confrontation with police and what to do if it does happen.

Comply with everything officers ask you to do

“If an officer confronts you, it will make it easier on you and him or her if you cooperate,” Rossi said. “Don’t argue with police; that’s what the court is for.”

What to do if you’re stopped by police.

&bull Be polite and respectful.

&bull Don’t get into an argument with police.

&bull Keep your hands where the police can see them.

&bull Don’t run or touch any police officer.

&bull Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.

&bull Don’t complain on the scene, tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.

&bull Do not make any statements regarding the incident.

&bull Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.

&bull Remember officer’s badge and patrol car numbers.

&bull Write down everything you remember as soon as possible.

&bull Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.


If an argument gets out of hand, it could require a physical arrest. Cooperation with officers, however, can mean a shorter time dealing with the situation at that exact moment.

Junior management major Tim Chaffin said on Halloween his run-in with the police was painless because he did what they told him to.

“I just listened to what they said, and they were calm and actually nice to me,” Chaffin said. “I went through all the motions with them and was home in about a half hour.”

Stay away from large parties.

“Even if you are not drinking, large parties are usually the wrong place to be,” Rossi said, adding that they are much more likely to be busted by police than at a small get-together.

If you’re underage, don’t drink.

Rossi said although many students do not follow this rule, it is one of the best ways to stay out of trouble.

“You can’t get in trouble for something you don’t do,” she said.

If you are physically arrested, don’t try to pull away.

“If you start to argue and pull away, you could get charged with resisting arrest,” Rossi said. “You will get no bond and spend the weekend in jail.”

Don’t drink and drive.

Rossi said something every officer is looking for, especially on the weekends, is drunk driving.

“We’re not in it for stats,” she said. “Most police officers see the consequences, so it is something we all take very seriously.”

She added that there are cab services students can call if there is somewhere else they want to go.

“The main thing students have to realize is there are consequences to actions,” Rossi said. “They could be short term, but, depending on career choices, they could be long term. Five minutes of partying, a couple of beers could have long term effects.”

Contact safety reporter Cody Francis at [email protected].