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Student Arrest Notice System "Flawed" - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Student Arrest Notice System "Flawed"

Posted: Updated: May 18, 2010 08:11 AM EDT

Police agencies in Albemarle County and Charlottesville agree say there is not a specific system to notify University officials when a student is arrested in either jurisdiction. This after a statement by the University's dean of students in a press conference, days after lacrosse player Yeardley Love was murdered and fellow lacrosse player George Huguely was charged, that indicated such as system was in place.

Every time someone is charged with a crime in Albemarle or in Charlottesville, the arresting officer has to fill out a worksheet. On it is a box asking if there is a university connection and it takes a student volunteering that information to get it checked "yes."

"That's a rather imperfect process because it is a self reporting kind of thing," said Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin.

Albemarle County and Charlottesville also say there is no written policy telling the officer if and for what crimes that information should be passed on to UVA.

"I don't know if those calls would necessarily go to UPD for notification in some formal fashion," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.

"We really do look at the notifications on a case-by-case basis," added Catlin.

University Spokesperson Carol Wood tells NBC29 that the school receives the city's "Daily Police Bulletin" that lists all crimes reported and arrests in Charlottesville, but does not separate out students from non-students. Wood says they look for names that might match up to students at UVA.

But they receive no such reports from Albemarle County, other than during special events like Foxfield which heavily involve UVA students.

University Police sends a daily summary of student arrests to the dean of students office. However, both University Police and the dean of students office denied NBC29's requests for an interview.

Chief Longo says if the university wants to know when students get arrested there is a shared system where they could look; a program used by both Charlottesville and Albemarle County called "Pistol."

"They can come in our records management system and view the reports that were filed by Charlottesville Police and the arrests that were made within the last 24 hours," Longo stated. 

UVA President John Casteen is asking Governor Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly to consider requiring police agencies in the Commonwealth to report student arrests to their universities.

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