Even kids who never got into any trouble while they lived at home can end up being detained or even arrested at some point in college. College is a time of newfound freedom and meeting all kinds of new people. Unfortunately, that can lead to some poor decisions – or maybe just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Your child is probably more likely to encounter university police (especially if they live on campus) than any other type of law enforcement officer. However, it’s important for them to treat them with the same respect – while still, of course, understanding and knowing how to assert their rights.
Some universities have their own police force
Unfortunately, many college students see campus police officers as little more than security guards or “mall cops.” In many cases, such as at the University of Kentucky, they are a full-fledged police force – the University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD).
Even if your child goes to a school with a private security force, their authority shouldn’t be underestimated. They have powers granted by the school, and you can be sure that they have a close relationship with local law enforcement agencies.
Understanding their constitutional rights
College students have the same constitutional rights and protections as anyone else. That means they have Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure – although things can get tricky when you share a dorm room or apartment with one or more people. They also have Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.
If your college student is facing criminal charges, they are also likely in jeopardy of disciplinary action by their school. No matter what the charge is, it’s crucial to take the matter seriously and ensure that they have experienced legal guidance to help protect their future.