State policy in place to save lives, futures


The Brookings Police Department doesn’t often deal with minors under the influence needing medical attention, according to Brookings Police Chief Jeff Miller. He said a police officer’s primary concern is medical treatment for someone who is highly intoxicated. 


The Good Samaritan Alcohol Policy provides immunity to minors seeking aid in medical emergencies involving alcohol.

If there is a situation where people who are underage have consumed alcohol and someone requires medical attention, those who aid in the emergency until law enforcement, or other help, arrives are immune to persecution, but the person in need of help is not entitled to the same protections.

According to Students’ Association President Ally Helms, GSAP is a statewide policy and passed through the South Dakota Legislative last spring. The policy aims to encourage minors under the influence of alcohol to help in the event of an emergency, rather than leave.

“It’s a policy that is in place to save lives,” Helms said. “It is set out to offer the right support for those who need it when they may have consumed too much or gotten themselves into a situation where they have the potential to harm themselves.”

Helms and other senators worked alongside state legislators to pass GSAP in hopes of increasing the safety of students who choose to drink illegally.

Helms said it is not only for underage college students, but any minor who stays to help would be granted immunity.

Although the Brookings police department doesn’t often deal with minors under the influence in need of medical attention. Brookings Police Chief Jeff Miller thinks the intent is good, but the department has yet to see benefits from the policy.

In these situations, Miller said a police officer’s primary concern is medical treatment for someone who is highly intoxicated.

Helms said, with GSAP, students will no longer have to choose between their friend’s safety and getting in trouble.