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Policing Alcohol-Related Crime among College Students

Published onJun 14, 2020
Policing Alcohol-Related Crime among College Students

Note: This is the postprint of the following paper; publisher version available here.

Allen, Andrea, and Scott Jacques. 2013. Policing Alcohol-Related Crime among College Students. Chapter 15 in Campus Crime: Legal, Social, and Policy Perspectives, 3rd ed., eds. Bonnie S. Fisher and John J. Sloan. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher. 

Abstract: None for this paper.


The one thing about alcohol that’s universal with all age groups is that bad decisions come along with it, with intoxication. Everything that we respond to around here, there’s alcohol or some form of intoxication that’s a part of it.—Officer RC, University of Cincinnati PD

Alcohol is connected to crime in two broad ways. One is alcohol crime, which refers to prohibited acts of substance consumption, possession, distribution (buying, selling, or giving), and manufacturing (e.g., brewing one’s own supply). Examples include underage drinking, driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated (i.e., DUI), or using a fake ID to purchase alcohol. Alcohol crime is distinct from alcohol-related crime, which is the focus of this chapter. Although there are three types of alcohol-related crime, the most common of them all is the psychopharmacological relationship (Goldstein, Brownstein, Ryan & Bellucci, 1997). This is when an intoxicated person commits an offense or is victimized (Goldstein, 1985). For example, a drunk person at a bar may try to leave without paying the tab, get in a fight, steal a glass, sexually harass someone, write on the bathroom stall, or pee on the wall.

Drinking and related offenses are a prominent feature of college life on and off campus. National estimates suggest 65% of full-time college students consumed alcohol in the last 30 days (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2011; also see ACHA, 2012 for a similar finding). Research shows that students who frequently consume alcohol are more likely to offend and be victimized than less frequent drinkers or abstainers (Siegel & Harriss, 1992). This relationship applies to a number of crime types, including assault, rape, sexual assault, vandalism, public disorder, and indecency offenses like public urination and public nudity (Fisher, Sloan, Cullen, & Lu, 1998; Mustaine & Tewksbury, 1998; NIAAA, 2002; Wechsler, 2001; Wechsler, Davenport, Dowdall, Moeykens, & Castillo, 1994). Another source of information on the effects of alcohol among college students is the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA), which is based on a survey of 27,774 students at 44 postsecondary institutions (ACHA, 2012). It reports that within the last year, about two out of a hundred students physically injured another person or had sex without consent due to drinking. The effect of alcohol intoxication on crime is no small matter; one study, for instance, finds that approximately 95% of all violent offenses committed on campuses involve alcohol (CASA, 1994).[1]

Students’ alcohol use and related offenses are a heavy burden for law enforcement officials. The most comprehensive information on such incidents committed across college campuses derives from the Campus Safety and Security Data (USDOE, 2010).[2] This source provides annual rates on arrests and disciplinary actions of persons attending colleges and universities. Among these students, there were 30,839 arrests and 178,747 disciplinary actions made for liquor law violations on campuses in 2010.[3] Other arrests include 2,664 sex offenses, 1,051 robberies, 1,782 assaults, 18,598 burglaries, and 688 arsons. It is likely that many of these "other crimes" involved alcohol because it has been implicated in 95% of all campus crimes (see Sloan, 1994). And according to the ACHA-NCHA, 2% of students got in trouble with the police for reasons related to intoxication (ACHA, 2012).

Despite the availability of basic statistics on arrests for alcohol crime and related offenses, we know very little about how officers view these problems or how best to police them. In this chapter, we draw on excerpts from the television show Campus PD to illustrate police officers’ common sense beliefs about college students’ drinking and its relation to offending and victimization. These beliefs are natural, simple, accessible, and important because they guide officers’ actions (see Geertz, 1983). We conclude with a discussion of how police typically fight alcohol-related crime among college students and suggest alternatives to this traditional model.

Analyzing Campus PD

To shed light on policing alcohol-related crime among college students, we make use of—what is to our knowledge—the only publicly available data source for the subject: scenes from the television series Campus PD aired by the channel G4. This show is similar to the classic series Cops in which a camera crew follows patrolling officers in order to get their thoughts on crime and video record them in action. In Campus PD, the focus is on officers’ interactions with American college students who may be victims or offenders.

At the time of writing, the complete first 3 seasons were available for purchase on iTunes. We do not know exactly when each season was recorded, but some sense of this is gained from knowing they were first aired in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. These three seasons include a total of 36 episodes. Six of the episodes focus on spring break venues so we have excluded them from our sample. This leaves 30 episodes with a total of 113 scenes. For each scene, we recorded the university around which the crime occurred; whether the officers’ involvement was proactive or reactive; whether municipal and/or university police were involved; the reason for the initial contact; if alcohol was present; the alcohol-related crimes investigated; and the sanction for each crime (e.g., verbal or written warning, sanction, or arrest). Noteworthy is that of the 113 scenes, 71 (63%) of them involved alcohol-related crime.[4] The beginning of each scene would usually begin with an officer saying what he or she thinks about crime or students; when relevant to alcohol-related crime we transcribed these words verbatim[5] Our findings are based on these qualitative accounts as well as descriptions of the scenes.

Before presenting our findings, we should point out that in some respects a limitation of using Campus PD scenes as data is they overwhelmingly involve municipal police; only ten percent of the incidents involve campus police. It is unclear what percent of the scenes occur on or off campus. With that said, it should not be inferred that municipal policing or off campus crimes are without consequence for university life. Whether students realize it or not, by enrolling in institutions of higher learning they agree to a student code of conduct, which often includes a clause stating that criminal offenses can be punished by the school. Universities may take disciplinary action against students when an offense is committed on or off campus, whether related to university events or not (see, e.g., Student Affairs Policy, 2010). For example, Chico State University students who hold an unruly party off campus can be called into a school conduct hearing and punished accordingly (1-4-2). [6] University of Cincinnati students face academic probation for their first offense and academic suspension (with forfeiture of tuition payments) if a second offense occurs (2-14-1). More serious offenses may result in immediate expulsion. Thus, the actions of both municipal and campus police officers, who are on and off campus, affect the lives of students.

Findings from Campus PD

When police respond to crimes their actions are guided by law, of course, but also by their personal beliefs (see, e.g., Klinger, 1997). As seen in the excerpts below, alcohol-related crime among students is a common concern for officers. They believe (1) students inevitably get drunk, (2) mainly because they lack maturity, and (3) their intoxication makes them frequent targets for and perpetrators of crime. After presenting these beliefs in officers’ own words and describing a few scenes of alcohol-related crime, we discuss their implications for the study of common sense (Geertz, 1983).

Cops, College Students, & Alcohol

Police officers think of college life as part and parcel with drinking. They perceive this relationship to be natural. When described, it has an air of “of-courseness” (Geertz, 1983). One officer said: “Up here because it’s the college life, the parties, the frat parties, the sorority parties, there’s a lot more … drinking” (1-10-3; Officer OB, Cincinnati PD). Another officer explained: “Obviously with the college in town and a few colleges outside of [town], we have a problem with the excessive amount of drinking” (3-1-2; Lieutenant JL, Montclair PD).

The police believe that "[t]he majority of kids that go to school get caught in a routine of excess drinking” (3-6-4; Officer HL, Pullman PD). They suggest excessive drinking is common among students because they lack maturity: “A lot of these students are new to living on their own, and they’re enjoying the freedom, and unfortunately they don’t have the maturity to deal with the alcohol” (2-16-4; Patrolman SJ, Conway PD). University students are physically adults but thought of as children: “Let’s face it—most of the students here are away from home for the first time, so even though they’re adults maturity wise they’re nothing more than big kids” (3-7-4; Lieutenant MF, Cincinnati PD).

Some officers believe this immaturity is a new phenomenon that is generational: “When you look at some of the students, some of the situations they get themselves in, sometimes I shake my head and it’s like I’ll say, ‘Wow, this is a new generation’”  (1-5-2; Officer TV, Cincinnati PD). One theory of this generation’s behavior is that this age cohort has been overly cared for and protected by parents. Thus they failed to learn some lessons, especially about accountability: “It’s a generational thing. These kids right now they’re 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old. That age group, in my opinion, and it’s just my opinion, is that they feel like they can do what they want and get away with what they want because they’ve been coddled their whole life or whatever the case is” (1-2-1; Officer TF, Chico PD).

One reason officers are concerned with students' alcohol consumption is it is perceived to increase the chance of victimization: “The students get out here and they get so drunk and it can hurt them. I mean they can one become a victim or two they can get alcohol poisoning.” Cops understand that they can be disliked by students for ruining good times, but their goal is to deter bigger problems than that: “We’re not against the students having parties and having fun…We’re here to ensure…they’re not victims” (1-1-1; Officer MB, Cincinnati PD). Intoxication not only enhances the risk of victimization, but it also makes it more difficult to solve cases and punish offenders: “Every Friday and Saturday night you get some kind of assault where someone gets hurt and they’re too drunk to even tell you what happens” (2-3-3; Officer BK, Cincinnati PD).

Police also believe that students' drinking increases their likelihood of breaking the law. Simply put, “[a] lot of people do stupid things while under the influence of alcohol” (3-10-3; Officer HL, Pullman PD). In one scene of Campus PD, for example, a severely inebriated student was caught breaking and entering into a residential building that he mistakenly believed to be the home of his friend. When the police found him he was sitting on the foyer floor with blood all over his face and hands, apparently the consequence of breaking door glass. He then proceeded to vomit and be cuffed (3-3-3).

Alcohol crime and related offenses are a big deal in officers' minds: “I’d say probably one of the biggest problems we have surrounds alcohol consumption because almost all of the calls we go to involves someone that’s been drinking” (3-8-2; Officer DH, Pullman PD). Officers' explanation of this high frequency of offending is that “students get too intoxicated and it affects their judgment. They think they can do things that they really can’t” (2-15-4; Officer BE, Cincinnati PD). Officers perceive that the relationship between drinking, poor judgment, and lawbreaking applies to many different crime types. These include violence, destruction, theft, and disorderly conduct.

Alcohol intoxication is a known facilitator of violence, defined as the use or threat of physical force (Boles & Miotto, 2003; Parker & Auerhahn, 1998). One officer succinctly summed up that finding: “Some people when they’re under the influence of alcohol they act violent…. It’s really no different with the college kids [from other adults]” (3-2-2; Lieutenant JL, Montclair PD). Given the popularity of drinking among college students, it is perhaps not surprising that cops regularly respond to fights involving them: “Just because we’re dealing with college students doesn’t mean that they can’t be dangerous, and can’t be a danger to us and others” (3-6-4; Officer HL, Pullman PD). Violence is especially likely to occur on weekend nights in high population density areas: “This is…the city and at 1:30 at night you just now have the mix of intoxicated adults and intoxicated kids, and you can pretty much bank on a fight breaking out here very, very shortly” (1-3-3; Officer RC, University of Cincinnati PD).

Destructive crimes are those in which property is damaged. For example, an alcohol-related case of vandalism was handled by police at a pizza joint one night. The back of this restaurant has an outdoor patio with a wood roof. One night the owner found a group of college students drinking on top of it. Even worse, they were jumping up and down, making it bow. The owner flagged down an officer and proceeded to explain the problem to her. She spoke with the offender, who had a shirt with “Jesus Loves This Guy” written on it. The owner of the establishment seemingly felt different and had the guy arrested for criminal damaging (1-10-2). 

Theft is when property is stolen through stealthy actions; examples are shoplifting and burglary. Intoxicated students seem especially inclined to commit this kind of offense. One officer said that on

[t]he midnight shift everything is alcohol related for the most part. You rarely talk to somebody that’s not intoxicated. Drunk college kids walking back from the bars or from parties, if something’s not bolted down or tied down it winds up getting damaged or stolen. (3-6-3; Patrolman GK, Marquette PD)

In one case documented on Campus PD, a patrolling officer is driving along as he sees an intoxicated girl walking across the street wearing a big orange construction cone as a hat. The officer asks her where she is going with it and she nonchalantly replies “just walking to my house.” He tells her to put it back and she says, “It’s a cone—are you kidding me right now?” After arguing with the cop, she eventually does what he asked (3-6-3). 

Disorderly conduct includes public disturbances of all sorts. For instance, one night an officer was riding down Main Street and became amazed by what he saw. He asked rhetorically, “Is this guy actually peeing on the side walk here?” The perpetrator was stopped and clearly understood why: “Because I was pissing on Main Street. Not something you should do.” And, in all likelihood, not something a sober person would do. He was taken away to jail (1-8-2).

At least in Campus PD, house parties are the most frequent scene of alcohol-related crime. In part, this is because these events bring together alcohol, lots of partygoers (many who are underage), and a lack of mature guardianship. This convergence of factors is a perfect storm for drunken and disorderly behavior, especially loud noise.  “One of the biggest problems we have…with the university is we get some pretty big parties. Obviously you get that many people together, they’ve been drinking, it’s gonna be loud, it’s gonna be a little rambunctious, and it doesn’t take long for us to get called” (3-2-1; Corporal JF, Marquette PD). The reason complaints come quickly is because neighbors want peace and quiet. As controllers of public order, the police are charged with the responsibility of maintaining the peace: “With college kids we deal with a lot of loud parties and intoxication. If it’s a huge party with 50 people, it’s just obnoxious, then we’ll break it up right there even if it’s the first time we’ve been there” (3-8-4; Officer PB, Las Cruces PD).

Not all situations involve a single crime type. Officers believe that breaking up loud parties (a disorderly offense) can lead to crimes of destruction or violence:

There been times during in the past where a party’s been broken up and police vehicles have been damaged or beer bottles been thrown at them, or people urinating on the cars, so on those calls—the party calls—it’s department policy to dispatch two officers to almost every call just for safety. (1-4-1; Officer RH, San Marcos PD)

At the extreme, student parties turn into riots when police intervene (also see Madensen & Eck, 2006). One such instance was described in detail by an officer:

Toward the end of the night when people have been to a party or two that’s been shut down, they sometimes they tend to become a little more resistant, a little more intoxicated, and willing to express their opinion a little bit more…There’s nights I’d be more than happy to not go to any more parties. I’ve done it throughout my career at Chico. You always got to be on your toes, always got to be paying attention to what’s going on, looking out for bottles and people that take a shot at you…We’ve had riots in town before. Always seems to be they revolve around a couch fire. The last time we had a riot it was a party that had 300 or 400 college kids in it and as the party was letting out they kind of took over the street, and an officer drove by, they started throwing items at the police car, started chanting, next thing you know somebody dragged a couch into the middle of the street and lights it on fire and now it causes a riot. And unfortunately we had to go in and get that to disperse. (1-7-1, 1-9-2, 1-9-4; Officer JD, Chico PD)

Common Sense Policing

The above stories of alcohol-related crime are just a few examples of those aired on Campus PD. As seen on the show, intoxication becomes involved in other crime types as well, such as fraud, trespassing, jaywalking, driving violations, obstruction of justice, interfering with police business, and resisting arrest. The above excerpts reveal police officers’ beliefs about students’ drinking, offending, and victimization. Municipal and campus cops believe students drink excessively because they lack responsibility and—because they are drunk—therefore fall prey to offenders and commit all sorts of offenses.

These beliefs are common sense. In normal life (i.e., outside academia), common sense is “just life in a nutshell” or a “matter –of-fact apprehension of reality” (Geertz, 1983, p. 75).  But from a scholarly perspective, common sense is much more than that. “It is, in short, a cultural system”: a set of beliefs (p. 76). All groups have a common sense understanding of the world, but what is common sense differs from one group to the next. While police may believe college students get drunk because they are immature, college students may get drunk because they believe doing so is fun; these are two different sets of common sense, among many more.

Although what is common sense varies, the characteristics of common sense beliefs do not. According to the famous anthropologist Clifford Geertz (1983), such cultural systems share traits: a belief is natural if people think it is "of course" true; practical when it guides action; thin if it is simple; and, accessible if anyone can learn it. Police officers’ beliefs about alcohol-related crime among students have these four traits. They believe it is natural for college students to get drunk and, in turn, be victimized or offend because they are immature. This idea set is very simple (i.e., thin), easy to learn (i.e., accessible), and practical in the sense it guides their actions. For example, officers believe it is acceptable to stop, investigate, detain, or disperse intoxicated students—even when they are not breaking the law—because their intoxication increases the chance of crime. Right or wrong, intoxicated students may be brought “to the police department because they’re probably going to make poor choices” (3-10-3; Officer HL, Pullman PD, emphasis added). Officers’ common sense tells them that by paying attention to one group of individuals—namely drunk students—they can deter, detect, and punish a multitude of offenses.

Methods of Policing of Alcohol-Related Crime among Students

What police officers don’t talk about on Campus PD is the way they try to control alcohol-related crime and why: by driving around almost aimlessly until rolling up on an incident by chance or being dispatched to a call. These actions are characteristic of what is called the “traditional policing method” (TMP). As its name suggests, TMP is the dominant form of police practice, at least in the United States. Although not discussed by officers, it is clear to anyone who watches Campus PD that this is how alcohol-related crime among students is policed, with a few exceptions. Yet, this model is generally considered by researchers as the least effective way to reduce crime (Weisburd & Eck, 2004).

Three potentially more effective methods are community-oriented policing (COP), problem-oriented policing (POP), and hot spots policing (HSP) (Weisburd & Eck, 2004). Although distinct, these three methods do have some overlapping characteristics. In what follows, we suggest how campus and municipal police could employ these methods on and around university grounds to reduce alcohol and related crimes among students.

Community-Oriented Policing (COP)

COP is a policing practice that promotes the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address and reduce conditions that facilitate crime, social disorder, and fear of crime (COPS, 2012). There are three key interlinked components of this model. One is fostering community partnerships between the police, other government agencies, and non-governmental institutions and organizations (e.g., private businesses, the media). Another is corporate transformation, which involves restructuring the agency in a way conducive to the development of community partnerships and the implementation of proactive problem solving.[7] The third is problem solving via proactive and systematic identification of crime problems through the process known as the SARA model—scan, analyze, respond, assess. The tactics used by COP include knock and talks, patrols, establishment of local “cop shops,” hotlines, neighborhood revitalization, block watch groups, and the use of treatment and prevention programs (Mazerolle, Soole, & Rombouts, 2007).

To address alcohol and related crimes, police can implement several strategies. Under this approach, it is essential that the police do not rely solely on law enforcement tactics as the means to address lawbreaking; community involvement and partnerships are a must. First, officers should work with organizations on campus to inform them of the dangers of drinking, and also on how it increases the risk for victimization and the chance of getting into trouble with the law. It is especially important for the police to form liaisons with Greek organizations and their members since fraternity and sorority members are known to frequently binge drink (Wechsler, 1996, 2001), which increases the chance of offending and victimization (NIAAA, 2002). Second, officers can increase foot patrols at times and places that a high number of intoxicated students are present (e.g., Friday and Saturday evenings around dormitories) because this may deter both alcohol and alcohol-related crime. Finally, police should encourage residential advisors (RAs) to take steps toward deterring drinking in dorms through preventative and reactionary steps. The rationale for this measure is that by reducing alcohol consumption then reductions in alcohol-related crime will naturally follow.

Problem-Oriented Policing (POP)

POP is similar to COP but more focused and practical in application. It directs officers to identify specific problems, through the SARA model, and develop tailor-made strategies for response (Weisburd & Eck, 2004). This approach, like COP, insists that officers utilize external sources (e.g., government agencies, community services) to help address crime problems, but it does not emphasize the facilitation of partnerships with the community and its members. Components of POP include concentrating on high-call locations, collaborating with government and other private agencies as well as community service providers, using mediation rather than solely arrest, reducing opportunities for crime, and using civil and criminal law to control public nuisances. The importance of POP is that it emphasizes the use of external partnerships in tandem with law enforcement tactics like high visibility policing to disrupt offending by making it riskier or—in the case of displacement—inconvenient and less beneficial (Harocopos & Hough, 2005). Recent developments of POP have begun to use a “pulling levers” strategy, which relies on partnerships with external agencies and the use of data-driven approaches that target specific hot spots locations and repeat offenders who are made aware that their offending will come to an end by their own choice or, if not, through incapacitation (see Corsaro, Brunson, & McGarrell, 2010; Corsaro, Brunson, & McGarrell, forthcoming; Frabutt, Gathings, Hunt, & Loggins, 2006; Kennedy, 1997; Kennedy & Wong, 2009).

Using a POP approach, police should first work to identify areas where alcohol and related crimes are most common. Next, they should devise a plan of action intended to deal with the unique features of the areas that facilitate offending and victimization. They could, for example, engage in high visibility policing to reduce opportunities for would-be offenders. Or the police can employ a pulling levers approach. This could be done by having officers aggressively tackle alcohol and related crime, but rather than cite or arrest offenders refer them to Student Judicial; in this way offenders can be targeted civilly rather than criminally. This would involve a combination of benefits and punishments to shape behavior. The benefits could take a number of forms, such as free enrollment in alcohol diversion programs or tutoring in order to refocus their time toward school and away from substance use. To deter recidivism, it could be made clear to students that repeat offending will result in the loss of academic assistance, suspension for a term/semester, or expulsion.

Hot Spots Policing (HSP)

A final method is HSP. It relies on identifying specific micro-locations at which there are exceedingly high levels of crime and, in turn, focusing police resources there. Hot spots may be a “single address, a cluster of addresses close to one another, a segment of a streetblock, an entire streetblock, or two, or an intersection” (Taylor, 1998, p. 3). Tactics are geographically focused and vary in duration, intensity, and types. Examples include crackdowns—a dramatic increase in police presence at a specific public locale; raids of private property; street sweeps in which a stretch of space is cleared through searches of suspicious persons; and buy-busts or reverse stings in which undercover officers engage in trade with drug traders for the purpose of collecting evidence (see Jacobson, 1999; Mazerolle et al., 2007; Worden, Bynum, & Frank, 1994).

Police should first identify hot spots of alcohol and related crimes on campus. For instance, a study by Robinson and Roh (2007) found that dorms are hot spots for both types of crimes. Once hot spots are identified, officers could then conduct crackdowns at these places, such as through vehicular checkpoints leading in and out of the area. Another strategy could reflect what Schafer (2005) describes: a police department formed an Alcohol Enforcement Unit (AEU) to patrol bars and taverns in a college community by dressing in plainclothes and looking out for underage drinkers and alcohol-related problems.


This chapter demonstrated that police handle a variety of alcohol-related crimes that college students are involved in as offenders and victims. What became apparent is that the police view alcohol and related crimes in a commonsensical way: it is natural that college students drink; therefore become involved in crime as victims and as lawbreakers; and thus should be policed as a source of problems—even when they are yet to commit an offense. As evident in Campus PD, the traditional police method can be used to combat these troubles, but it is perhaps the least effective method of all (see Weisburd & Eck, 2004).

Despite the high frequency of drinking and alcohol-related crimes among students, research is yet to tell us what are in fact the best, “good enough,” and worst policing methods to address these problems in the campus context. Relatedly, we do not know whether campus and municipal police handle such incidents differently and, if so, how, why, and to what effect. Addressing these gaps in our knowledge has obvious practical implications for reducing the negative consequences of students’ drinking. At this point in the game, however, there are more questions than answers. 


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[1] College students are not the only people whose intoxication is known to affect crime.  Everywhere there is excessive drinking, there is greater potential for crime. Research consistently demonstrates that “when violent behavior is associated with a substance, that substance is, overwhelmingly, alcohol” (Parker & Auerhahn, 1998, p. 306).A study of homicides in New York City, for instance, found alcohol was involved in more psychopharmacological murders than any other drug (Goldstein et al., 1997). And in the United Kingdom, a study found that only heroin and crack cocaine had a larger relationship to crime than did alcohol (Nutt, King, & Phillips, 2010).  Time and time again, research consistently finds that alcohol has a strong effect on offending and victimization (see, e.g., Boles & Miotto, 2003; Brecklin & Ullman, 2010; Felson & Burchfield, 2004; Lasley, 1989; Felson, Savolainen, Aaltonen, & Moustgaard, 2008; Felson, Teasdale, & Burchfield, 2008; Graham, Bernards, Wilsnack, & Gmel, 2011; Mustaine & Tewksbury, 1998; Parker & Auerhahn, 1998).

[2] Of course these arrest statistics do not include the dark figure of crime and thus the actual frequency of these offenses could be considerably larger.

[3] Results are based on 3,905 colleges and universities within the 50 states and the District of Columbia with enrollment over 500 and student residential facilities. Only 4 year public, private not for profit, and private for profit institutions are included.

[4] These scenes involve the areas around eleven universities that, in the show at least, were handled by twelve police departments—the one extra being accounted for by the one and only university PD involved in the series. If not self-evident, we must point out these cases or departments are unlikely to be a random sample. We do not know how or why some universities were chosen for taping and agreed but not others, nor do we know why some scenes appeared on air but others did not. Thus the findings from this study may or may not be generalizable to other times and places but the extent to which they are is unknown.

[5] Some of the transcriptions do not fully reflect what was said. For example, we did not include “um” or “you know.”

[6] The notation followed by each quote or descriptive story represents its season-episode-scene. For example, scene 3 from episode 2 in season 1 would be denoted as 1-2-3. When quoting an officer, his or her name initials, job title, and department are provided.

[7] This may involve modifying the organizational structure, utilizing information systems and technology to track data, recruiting and training personnel, and the geographic assignment of officers.

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