Apr 052005
Authors: Hallie Woods, Jake Blumberg

After three students were issued minor in possession of alcohol violations in a RamRide vehicle on March 27, some RamRide users realized that the program isn't a safeguard from Fort Collins laws.

"RamRide is not a shield from the law in any way, shape or form," said CSU Police Department Capt. Bob Chaffee.

Chaffee said that although a safe ride home with services such as RamRide is encouraged, it does not provide an excuse for underage students to participate in illegal behavior. Students in a RamRide car have to abide by the same laws as students in the residence halls, houses or on the streets.

"The safe-ride program does not change how we do business," said Rita Davis, Fort Collins Police Services spokeswoman. "Whether it's RamRide, Shamrock Ride, whatever – enforcement is enforcement."

However, until the recent incident, some students were unaware that not all CSU and Fort Collins police officers were collaborating with the Associated Students of CSU on the program.

"RamRide cars are unidentifiable and we do our best not to raise suspicion," said Brian Hardouin, director of RamRide. "However, when a student chooses to ride RamRide, just like when they choose to drink underage, they are doing so at their own risk."

The RamRide program is not supported by Fort Collins police, and many police officers are unaware of the safe-ride program altogether. When the students were issued the alcohol citations, the officer who issued the tickets had never heard of the program.

Chaffee expressed regret that there was not more communication between the police department and RamRide when the program was launched. However, he feels there is no animosity between either party.

"I would hope that this situation wouldn't damage the program, but rather use it as a learning moment," Chaffee said.

Hardouin said the Associated Students of CSU plans to increase awareness and communication between RamRide and the police.

"We hope to have more regular discussions with the state patrol and police department to increase awareness and supply contact information in case they (FCPS) need or want to help," Hardouin said.

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