Castleton students complain about stepped up police patrols - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Castleton students complain about stepped up police patrols

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On the night of Nov. 4, police responded to a noise complaint about a party at a residence on Route 4A in Castleton. Police say about 150 college students ran into the woods across the street when they arrived.

"Which is an indicator that they didn't want to have police contact," Castleton Police Chief Bruce Sherwin said.

But it's what happened when some students called for a safe ride back to campus that has them feeling singled out.

"Safe ride pulled over to let the students into the van and as the students were getting into the van, the police showed up and gave the students diversions," said Adam Diemar, the student coordinator of Safe Ride.

Safe Ride is a shuttle students can call for a ride back to campus when they're under the influence or otherwise feel unsafe. While Diemar says he understands why the party was broken up, he and many students we spoke with feel they shouldn't be penalized for choosing not to drink and drive.

"You might be breaking the law, but you're trying to be responsible and not drink and drive," said Ryan Flood, a student. "I was a little shocked when the police were going after them for that. But again, it's within their realm of power, you can't really stop 'em. But I would have thought Safe Ride would have been off limits to start going after that."

Sherwin insists the patrols are to keep the peace between the college and the town, not to target the van.

"It's never been the policy of, nor to my knowledge have we ever targeted a Safe Ride van for the purposes of interacting with students to find out if they have been consuming alcoholic beverages," Sherwin said.

In the past month since he's upped patrols, Sherwin says complaints from area residents have gone down, but the student coordinator for Safe Ride says he's seeing another number decrease that he believes isn't for the better.

"Well, we have seen a drop in people helping out with Safe Ride. There used to be no problem finding people to do safe ride, but over the past couple weeks there has been a problem with staffing," Diemar said.

We spoke with the dean of students who says the college works hard to keep its relationship with the town positive. He said students sometimes feel they are "insulated from police as a college student... and that's never been our approach... Our approach is if we're going to call you an adult, we're going to call you a citizen, then you have all the responsibilities there of that citizenship."

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