What really happens after an arrest?
For students getting rowdy on the weekends, their actions may have consequences beyond a hangover and stories of stupidity – if they cross the line too far, they could end up in the back of a cop car.
The CUPD arrested 465 people in 2005, according to the department Web site. The arresting officer’s tasks include handcuffing a suspect, doing paperwork and, if the suspect continues to misbehave after arrest, transporting them to the Boulder County Jail. The jail guards book the inmates, take their fingerprints, interview them and put them into the computer database. The inmate’s behavior determines how he or she is treated once there, according to Boulder County Jail Officials.
Lt. Brad Wiesley, the CUPD spokesperson, said arrests occur because a warrant exists or a suspect refuses to comply with the officer. He said the police handcuff people for safety reasons.
“I’ve seen people try to jump out of patrol cars before,” Wiesley said. “So the handcuff thing is primarily a safety thing.”
Wiesley said most people cooperate and understand the situation when they’re arrested, but some don’t.
“Every once in a while,” Wiesley said, “there are people that either resist arrest, or fight, or they’re so drunk that they make bad decisions.”
Wiesley said the suspect may be taken to the station or directly to the Boulder County Jail. The officer fills out paperwork, which usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour and a half, at the jail for the court process the next day. The jail takes over from that point, Wiesley said.
The jail isn’t the typical one portrayed on television crime dramas.
“They’re more like cinder block rooms with glass windows to look into,” Wiesley said. “It’s not the old TV bars and all that kind of stuff.”
The jail has benches, a television and chairs for most inmates.
“For the most part,” Wiesley said, “people who are being cooperative sit on a bench or in a chair, and they can watch CNN or whatever is playing on the TV while they’re waiting to have their booking done.”
Uncooperative inmates are treated differently than cooperative inmates, according to Sgt. Jeff Goetz, a jail supervisor and guard there for 17 years.
“If they want to fight or get stupid, then the rules change,” Goetz said.
The inmates can be put in a restraint chair if they are a danger to themselves or others, Goetz said. This happens on rare occasions.
The inmates are placed in lockdown. They are accounted for and checked to see that they aren’t doing anything dangerous, like trying to kill themselves, Goetz said.
“I’ve had people die on my shift,” Goetz said. “It’s not a frequent occurrence. When people come to jail, their first assumption is, ‘Oh, my life is over, the end is near.’ Once they get their court appearance out of the way, then life doesn’t seem so bleak.”
If a student is arrested, the Office of Judicial Affairs receives information regarding the arrested student from the police, said Rebecca Stockland Judicial Affairs administrative assistant. The office then sends out an e-mail to the student informing them that a hearing will be held. The student is given a chance to appear at the hearing and tell his or her side of the story. After that, the office determines whether the student will be punished and, if so, what the penalties will be.
Penalties include writing a five-page paper about their crime or making financial restitution if he or she damaged property. There are post-college consequences if the student fails to fulfill the penalties, Stockland said.
“We’ll allow them to graduate,” Stockland said, “but they won’t have access to their account if they don’t get things done in time. If they want to apply for professional schools, graduate schools or work with the federal government, they all do background checks, and we’re sent background forms to do the checks. So if those things are incomplete, we let them know that and also we won’t release a lot of information until they complete it.”