ISU Police report an increase in alcohol-related infractions


ISU Police is its own police department, working alongside Ames Police to maintain a safe community.

Iowa State Police Department’s October action update reported an 86.5% increase in alcohol violations and an 85.7% increase in operating-while-intoxicated offenses.

Iowa State University Chief of Police Michael Newton said the resurgence of tailgating is in part to blame for the inflated alcohol-related infractions.

“Tailgating is back in full swing, [and] we’re seeing an increase in cases from football and other events,” Newton said. “I think a lot of our alcohol increase goes just to the fact that we’re back to full fledged events again.”

The report also details the rise in mental health-related calls which service officers responded to. This year, officers responded to a total of 42 mental health related calls in October, with October 2021 having a reported 38. Mental health related calls include suicides and attempted suicides, calls dealing with mental health or psychiatric disorders and welfare checks, with welfare checks accounting for 34 and 31 calls for October 2022 and October 2021, respectively.

“[Calls relating to mental health] can come in a multitude of ways,” Newton said. “We can have somebody who’s in a building acting strange and somebody wants us to go check them out, and it becomes a mental health case. We could have a friend calling because they’re concerned about their loved one because of statements that they made.”

The report states there were 413 traffic stops in October, an increase from last year’s 250.

“We get a lot of complaints about the people’s driving behavior on campus– running stop signs, speeding through the campus streets,” Newton said. “So, as people complain to us, we make it more of a priority.”

According to the report, October had the second most calls for service since 2018 with a total of 2,637 calls, losing the first place spot to last September’s 2,644 calls. Newton said part of that is attributed to the police department’s efforts to become fully staffed.

Newton also said that through the procurement of Gov. Kim Reynolds Traffic Safety Bureau Grant that general enforcement has increased.

“You’ll see our operating-while-intoxicated numbers are significantly higher because we have more officers out there [who are] more proactive,” Newton said. “Plus we’re working the grant efforts trying to get intoxicated drivers off the roadway.”

The grant also provides qualifying police departments with the funds to pay for things such as overtime, dash cams and pole-mounted radar units.

This October saw an increase to 18 drug violations in comparison to October 2021’s 11, or a 63.6% change. Newton said the change could be a result of the aforementioned increase in general enforcement but added that the weather could also be a driving factor.

“People end up smoking in their dorm rooms and then get caught more easily,” Newton said.