In a city where college students comprise approximately half the population, police interaction with students is inevitable.
Drunk in Publics, noise violations and DUIs are facts of life in many college towns, but Williamsburg Chief of Police David Sloggie has bigger fish to fry.
“We’d rather not be dealing … with D.I.P.s or noise complaints,” Sloggie said. “We have other crimes we need to prevent, such as larceny and burglary. Any time spent on D.I.P.s and noise takes away from those other important issues.”
Sloggie was appointed to the position in April by City Manager Jackson Tuttle, succeeding former Chief of Police Mike Yost. He served as Deputy Chief of Police prior to the appointment.
Sloggie said he wants students to know their rights when they encounter police, wherever they live.
“I personally take real pride in the fact that I’m an American first, and one of the things that I’m a proponent of, [and] people wouldn’t think a cop would say this, is say no to search,” he said. “Citizens have fought and died and [spilled] blood so each one of us can have our Bill of Rights. The public needs to be educated [about] those sacrifices. Don’t consent to give up your rights, simple as that. [I’m an] American first, and then I’m a cop. We do not want a Gestapo state, period. That is not to say the police will not ask. Many times, cases are made because one has given us consent to search. The [Williamsburg Police Department] restricts officer actions further and requires a higher standard than required — reasonable suspicion — before they can even ask.”
According to Sloggie, only a small number of students create problems in Williamsburg, and those problems tend to be minor. The most significant incidents he recalls involving students have been fights.
Many police incidents that do involve students are alcohol related. Sloggie said he supports many of the policies the College of William and Mary has implemented to cut down drinking on campus.
“Anything the university does to curb alcohol can only assist in preventing injuries to students. What I’m really worried about is [each] student that comes here, and we have had some people that have been seriously injured. We had a death 10 years ago,” he said.
He discussed medical amnesty, the ban of beer pong tables and other student conduct policies as contributing factors in making Williamsburg a safer place for students.
“We’re here to serve the citizens of Williamsburg, which includes College students,” Sloggie said. “The students are absolutely part of the community. We’re here to serve the residents, we’re here to serve the students, we’re here to serve anybody [who] needs the police department.”