ISUPD sees major increase in drug violations, January activity report shows


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

Mackenzie Bodell, Senior Reporter

Drug violations and OWI numbers saw major increases in the January activity report compared to last year. 

Drug violations increased by 700%, going from two in January 2022 to 16 in 2023. 

“We do see an uptick sometimes when it’s a little bit colder outside,” Chief of Iowa State Police Mike Newton said. “People will end up using drugs, mostly marijuana, in their dorms or residence halls and the odor then gets called in.”

OWI numbers were another area of interest as they increased by 185.7%, rising from 7 to 20. The ISUPD is making efforts to do more enforcement to get impaired drivers off the road. 

“Impaired drivers are concerning for our campus community, and people who are impaired driving through campus will result in injuries or death,” Newton said. “We’ve really concentrated on trying to get those people off the street.”

Welfare checks and medical assistance numbers saw an increase of 250%, going from two in January 2022 to seven in 2023. Newton said those numbers have been increasing for these types of calls for a few years now.

“It’s a priority of the campus authority of this organization to really focus in on what we can do differently with mental health,” said Newton. “Our mental health advocates are reaching out to people and working on that and there’ll be a lot of campus initiatives that come down the road.”

Although the report did not highlight any training that officers took part in, the department focused specifically on tactical response and building their foundation for active killer response plans, Newton said. 

Overall, with many statistics increasing from January 2022, Newton said the weather plays a huge factor. 

“We just saw a lot more activities than we did last year and some of it stems from weather,” said Newton. “We’ve had some years where it’s nicer than others and when it is nicer out, we do see more activity on campus.”

Numbers have also increased as the department gets closer to being fully staffed. With more officers out on patrol, the report saw increases across the board. Having those extra officers out there will hopefully catch more of those behaviors and activities, said Newton. 

January 2023 summary statistics:

  • Assaults: 0
  • Sexual assaults/fondling: 2
  • Harassment incidents: 3
  • Thefts: 6
  • Thefts from a motor vehicle: 0
  • Motor vehicle theft: 0
  • Drug violations: 16
  • Alcohol violations: 6
  • Extortion/forgery/scam/fraud: 1
  • Criminal mischief/vandalism: 4
  • OWI: 20
  • Traffic and accidents: 34
  • Welfare check/medical assist: 7
  • Traffic stops: 440
  • New reports: 103
  • Calls for service: 3,157

Alongside these numbers, the department released an additional report taking a look at the last five years. The report includes data from 2018 to 2022. Examining activity data over long periods of time can be effective in determining trends and patterns according to the report. These trends and patterns can give insight into the allocation of resources.