ASU Police Officer Patrick Murphy said the Manzanita residence hall students refusal to allow him to search the students room with out a search warrent surprised him. Students are usually quick to cooperate with police requests, he added.

Its too bad most people either don't know their rights or are quickly willing to flush them down a toilet when the police ask them to.

Tales from a Friday with ASU DPS One reporter sees police beat-worthy incidents first hand

by Shea Drefs

published on Tuesday, February 7, 2006

During a 12-hour shift, ASU police officers typically answer 10 to 20 calls, but Officer Jason Latella said the past two weeks have been busier than usual.

"It's early enough in the semester that no one has any big papers or anything, so they're partying now," Latella said.

Friday night and early Saturday morning, officers from the ASU Department of Public Safety handled 10 cases as a State Press reporter rode along.

One of the night's first arrests was an ASU student who admitted to partying with a fraternity he hoped to join.

Officer Patrick Murphy found the 19-year-old male stumbling across the lawn outside of Palo Verde West. His speech was slurred, he had difficulty standing and his breath smelled of alcohol, Murphy said.

After a test revealed the suspect's blood alcohol level to be 0.179, more than two times the legal driving limit, Murphy called the Tempe Fire Department.

"How tall are you?" Murphy asked the student while waiting for firefighters.

"About 162, 165," the suspect said.

"No, how tall are you?" Murphy repeated.

"I'd say 165," the student said.

The questioning continued when the firefighters arrived.

"What day of the week is it?" one firefighter asked.

After a long pause, the student simply cursed.

"That's not a day of the week," the firefighter said.

After a thorough inspection, the suspect was given a citation for underage consumption of alcohol and allowed to return to his dorm room, where he was placed in the care of his resident assistant.

"No more parties tonight. You're done," Murphy told the student, who then hugged the officer before heading upstairs.

Less than 30 minutes later, Murphy responded to a call from a Manzanita residence hall resident assistant who reported smelling marijuana coming from a dorm room.

Murphy and two other DPS officers waited several minutes for the occupant of the room to arrive. When the student showed up, he let the officers inside, but refused to let them search the room.

Murphy said the refusal surprised him. Students are usually quick to cooperate with police requests, he added.

The student was escorted out of his room to wait while Murphy obtained a search warrant from a judge.

"It could take 15 minutes; it could take several hours," Murphy said as he drove back to DPS headquarters to begin the request process.

A police aide guarded the door and warned the suspect he would be arrested if he entered the room. The suspect's request to retrieve his cell phone charger was denied.

Meanwhile, DPS received a call about an individual who was reportedly screaming and threatening residents at the Commons, a University-run apartment complex. It was the second time the individual had been called on that night, Latella said.

Four officers turned on their sirens and sped to the scene, where they found the suspect lying on the ground crying, his arms and hands bleeding from punching a window.

"Am I really going to get a ticket for sleeping in my own bed?" the suspect asked repeatedly between sobs.

"No, you're getting arrested for disorderly conduct," said officer Mark Aston.

When the night ended, DPS had made more than 10 contacts, including two arrests.

"Usually whenever we have a ride-along nothing happens," Latella said.

Reach the reporter at

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