BY DET. JOSH CHIAMULERA
Rhinelander Police Department
August, the last month of summer, school is again around the corner. Summer jobs will be wrapping up for some, vacationers will begin to dwindle and the time to buy school supplies is quickly expiring. Soon parents will be sending their kids to college. Some may have done this task before, but for others this will be their first go at it. What to prepare them for? Well…everything!
My name is Josh Chiamulera and I am a detective with the Rhinelander Police Department. With nearly 14 years of law enforcement experience there are many topics to discuss, but I have selected just a few of the more important points.
Some college students drink alcohol, but they should be smart about it. Most Wisconsin universities offer some sort of safe ride program for students. The Tavern League of Wisconsin offers a free safe ride and has connections in nearly every county in Wisconsin; just ask a bartender. Students should choose a designated driver or talk to a police officer and maybe they can even give you a ride home. Let’s all remember that in most situations the legal drinking age is 21 in Wisconsin. There are consequences for drinking alcohol when you have not reached the age of 21, which could include receiving a citation for underage drinking or face far harsher consequences. To borrow from “Parents Who Host Lose the Most,” purchase, provide or pour alcohol for underage drinkers and the people they injure can sue you.
Experimenting with drugs will sometimes happen in college. Again, be smart about it. I’m not just talking about “drugs,” because even legal prescriptions can be used and obtained illegally. I’m pretty sure the person down the hall in your dorm is not a doctor, so make sure you know what you are using and how it will affect you. No person is the same and just because it affects someone one way, doesn’t mean it will do the same to you. Know your limits, and know the people around you. Can you trust those around you to help you if you need it? Will you help them? In the event of a suspected overdose, laws can protect those that call for help.
Sexual assaults can happen at any time and in any location. Have a buddy system, set up a code word, tell someone where you are going and who you will be with. Know who you will be with; everyone is on the internet, so if you can’t Google someone, perhaps they aren’t honest about who they are. Some sexual assault incidents have no statute of limitations which means they can be reported at ANY time. Some incidents of sexual contact, such as touching and grabbing, have a 10-year statute of limitation.
In a world where cameras seem to be everywhere let’s remember a few things about them. It’s illegal to install a camera in any “private place.” It’s illegal to capture a representation that depicts nudity without the knowledge and consent of the other person. Even if you didn’t take the picture, or the person consented to the picture at the time, it can also be illegal to simply possess, distribute, “post or publish,” or exhibit those same illegal representations without consent. It’s also illegal to use a drone to photograph, record, or otherwise observe another in a location where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
College is a new experience, so let’s also make sure it is also a safe one. Keep it real with yourself and your kids. This article is meant to be advice but it can also be a warning to others. Talk to your kids, make sure they know there are options and make sure you have something to tell them when they call you for advice. Be safe, be smart, but most of all have fun.