FAMU Department of Public Safety has fewer arrests for illegal drug use on campus

Florida A&M’s Department of Public Safety reported fewer arrests for illegal drug use this school year.

Sergeant Beverly Stevens, a FAMU DPS officer, said 10 narcotic-related arrests were made on campus in 2009. According to Florida A&M’s annual crime report, 16 arrests were made in 2008.

In order to control illegal drug use on campus, FAMU DPS officers said they are monitoring the campus more and increasing presence during late hours.

“A lot of times we double up on our night shift, so we do a lot more walking at night than previously,” said Dexter Robertson, a FAMU DPS officer.

According to Robertson, marijuana is the most prevalent substance on campus; however, he said reported use of the drug is down significantly. He said it is difficult to prosecute those using marijuana.

“It could be less because they are going to put it out or stomp it so you really can’t do anything,” said Robertson.

If the student is caught with less than 20 grams of marijuana campus, police will send them to judicial affairs, according to Robertson. However, possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana will result in a FAMU DPS arrest and a trip to jail.

The lack of student reports on drug-related incidents has also made proving these cases difficult, according to law enforcement. Some students find themselves in awkward situations when they encounter roommates or friends that use illegal substances like marijuana.

For some students, informing FAMU DPS or the University Housing Office about a friend or roommate that uses drugs can be a difficult decision.

“I’m not snitching because you have to live with them,” said Chris Norwood, 18, first-year biological and agricultural engineering student from Alabama. “I’m not going to make bad blood for no reason.”

The police department has partnered with resident assistants and other housing personnel in an effort to sniff out offenders in on-campus housing.

Stephanie Ferjuste, 20, a second- year psychology student from Fort Lauderdale and resident assistant in Paddyfote Housing Complex, helps with room inspections. She said if a resident assistant notices suspicious activity, such as open windows or propped door, their room would be inspected. In the case that marijuana and other drugs are found, further procedures are taken.

“I don’t think they should be smoking it because it’s disrespectful and it affects the whole dorm,” said Ferjuste.

FAMU DPS’s said their goal is to continue the decrease in crime throughout the remainder of the academic year and lower the narcotics rate in the future.

To report drug-related incident on Florida A&M’s campus call 850-599-3256, or visit the department of public safety at 2400 Wahnish Way POM Building. A, Suite 128