Ask SAM

Q: Now that school is back in session, what steps does the city of Winston-Salem want neighbors of Wake Forest University to follow when the off-campus students get a little too loud for the neighborhood? Last year, it was the same few houses that constantly partied. Do you contact the police at the non-emergency number, and is there a plan in place to address the repeat offenders?

J.C.

Answer: According to Lt. Brian Dobey with the Winston-Salem Police Department, all Wake Forest students who live off-campus have gone through orientation, in which behavior expectations were explained in detail.

“Your reader should contact the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 for non-emergency situations and of course, always dial 911 for any emergencies,” Dobey said. “When the Winston-Salem Police Officers arrive, they will conduct an investigation into the nature of the complaint. If the complaint and/or violators are current Wake Forest University Students, the Wake Forest Campus Police will also be contacted and will respond to the location of the call for service.”

He said that the WSPD will take appropriate enforcement action and “the Wake Forest Campus Police will make the proper notifications to begin an administrative hearing to investigate the matter from that standpoint at the University.”

All reports made to the WSPD that are criminal in nature will be documented in an incident report and thoroughly investigated,” he said. “Your reader can always contact the University directly if they are sure the complaint is involving current students or staff.”

Q: On Sunday evening, Aug. 25, I was on University Parkway headed downtown from U.S. 52 when I saw a group of riders on motorcycles, dirt bikes and 4-wheelers. They were popping wheelies, driving dangerous, and many were not wearing helmets. Behind them was a Winston-Salem police officer in a marked car. Why were they allowed to endanger other motorists, with the apparent approval of the city?

M.B.H.

Answer: “I can assure you this type of behavior is not condoned by the city of Winston-Salem or the Winston-Salem Police Department,” Lt. Dobey said. “These situations are difficult to manage for law enforcement because of many factors. Additionally, while these situations appear on their face to be similar to ones shown on media outlets in other cities, most of the time each situation is usually different to some degree.”

Based on the situation you described, he said, the riders of the ATVs and motorcycles were violating misdemeanor traffic laws and infractions. “The Winston-Salem Police Officer following this group last Sunday was waiting for additional officers to arrive for assistance,” he said. “The officers involved in these types of incidents have to assess the entire situation occurring in front of them and make sound decisions based on the totality of the circumstances.

“They must also weigh the importance of public safety against the dangers of immediate apprehension based on what laws the violators are breaking at that time.”

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Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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