Alcohol could go down the drain in public dumping

By Barry Levites

Northeastern Public Safety is considering publicly dumping over 100 gallons of alcohol confiscated during the three weeks school has been in session.

“If we do go through with this, we’ll have to hire a hazardous materials disposal company to give us a barrel to dump it into and to dispose of it,” said James Ferrier, associate director of public safety.

Ferrier said when Northeastern police normally confiscate alcohol they just pour it down the drain, but with such a high quantity of contraband, the public safety office will have to consult a hazardous materials expert to see if dumping it down the drain will have any ill-effects.

Over 100 students have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution in the past three weeks as a result of a crackdown on underage drinking, leaving police with a large quantity of alcohol to dispose of, Ferrier said.

Ferrier said no officer obtains confiscated alcohol for their own personal use.

“Nobody on the Northeastern police force uses confiscated alcohol,” he said. “We keep the alcohol in a locked evidence room. It’s heavily guarded and everything taken from there has to be signed off on. Twice.”

Students said disposing of alcohol in their presence did not seem a worthwhile solution to underage drinking.

“It’s like a public execution,” said sophomore sociology major Jason Lederman.

“The idea kind of reminds me of the movie “Fahrenheit 451,” where the government held public book burnings.”

Others said the police should put the confiscated alcohol to a better use.

“It’s a stupid idea to begin with,” senior computer science major Peter Jordan said. “That is such a waste. They would make more money if they just re-sold it to students of age.”

Ferrier welcomed suggestions for other ways to dispose of the alcohol, but said under Massachusetts State Law, he could not resell it without a liquor license.

Ferrier declined to comment about other drugs and contraband confiscated by police, but affirmed that the items could not be put to recreational use.

“There is a standard chain of command when dealing with illegal contraband,” he said. “We give it to the Boston police, who in turn send it to a state drug lab. [Along] with weapons, we give it to Boston police. They will hang on to the weapons for a while and dispose of them in a regularly scheduled disposal.”

The Boston Police Department declined to comment on its policy for contraband disposal, citing that public knowledge may lead to the confiscated items falling into the wrong hands.

In addition to alcohol and illegal drugs, Northeastern police recover a large amount of stolen property each week, which creates a complicated scenario for officers, Ferrier said.

“Lost and found is a tough job to do since we don’t have any true way of proving who owns what,” he said. “A lot of the recovered items remain unclaimed.”

Northeastern police usually donate to charity certain unclaimed items, such as bikes and electronics, after a reasonable amount of time has lapsed.

“We do our best to give everything back to the community,” he said. “The NUPD doesn’t keep any of the items it recovers or confiscates.”

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