April 19, 2018
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Dozens in Orono area face charges

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — More than 50 people were arrested or charged by Orono, Old Town and University of Maine police during the three-day Labor Day weekend, mostly for alcohol-related offenses.

Nearly half of the incidents occurred on campus, Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said Monday.

Between 4 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Monday, UMaine had 24 incidents in which at least one person was charged, according to the Penobscot Regional Communications Center law incident summary report.

All but three were alcohol-related.

“A number of them were minors in possession, and a number were minors in possession by consumption,” Dana said. “They were all underage people drinking alcohol.”

Possession of alcohol by a minor by consumption is a relatively new law that allows police to charge underage people who have consumed any amount of alcohol.

“We want to send them a message,” Dana said. “We’ve asked the police and our residence life staff to let the students know certain behaviors are dangerous and can’t be tolerated.”

The long holiday weekend, a concert on campus that drew people from all over the region, “the very seductive weather, and 2,000 brand-new students figuring out what the rules are and all that” contributed to the high number of incidents, Dana said.

None of the UMaine incidents resulted in arrests, and several of those who were given summonses were not university students, Dana said.

The three incidents that were not alcohol-related which public safety officers dealt with on campus involved drugs. University spokesman Joe Carr said Monday that those three incidents related to someone smelling marijuana and reporting it to police, who in turn investigated and charged someone. No one was arrested.

Over the long weekend, Orono police dealt with 16 incidents in which at least one person was charged or arrested. Of those 16 incidents, 13 were alcohol-related.

Old Town had 10 incidents with arrests or charges during the same time period, with five listed as alcohol offenses.

“It was definitely a very busy weekend,” Old Town police Officer Debbie Holmes said Monday.

While some university students learned important lessons about illegal alcohol and drug use this past weekend, the vast majority, some “12,977 students did not get into trouble,” Dana said. “That’s the good news.”

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