Seek alternative to GSAP

The Good Samaritan Alcohol Policy, a piece of legislation which protects a minor from receiving certain alcohol consumption related charges when helping those that are in need of emergency assistance, is no longer being pursued by student legislators.  An alternative to the GSAP is currently being developed.

Student legislators would like to see a pilot diversion program in Brookings and Clay County. The program would allow violators to take drug and alcohol awareness classes and community service with the potential that the charge would not show up on your report. It would not only apply to alcohol violations, but to other offenses as well. Violators would have to be recommended to the states attorney to be a candidate for the program; otherwise the violator would be charged as normal.

“The diversion program would have the same outcome what the GSAP would,” said Students’ Association State and Local Chair Caleb Finck. “Then in a year we can go back and say this worked, this didn’t work.”

The committee is unsure of what officials would approve the pilot program to implement it.

After GSAP was turned down three consecutive years, Finck and University of South Dakota’s Student Government Association President Eric Muckey formed a GSAP task force committee consisting of members from other South Dakota universities. The committee met with Clay County Sheriff Andy Howe, Vermillion Chief of Police Matt Betzen, and USD Police Department Head to discuss the GSAP.

“[It was] the same thing we heard in the past,” Finck said. “[There was] quite a bit of opposition from them [officers] in the discretionary part of the bill… It’s their call on the scene.”

The task force decided that if there was a large amount of opposition, they would not go forward with the GSAP. Previously, the Sheriff’s Association and States’ Attorney were big opposition to the GSAP.

“It’s been tried in the last three years, and they’ve run into problems all three times. It makes it through the senate committee and the senate floor and then it dies every time,” Finck said.