URBANA, Ill. – The University of Illinois Police Department is reminding students that state law and university procedures protect them from getting in trouble when they call 9-1-1 to help someone in need.
Illinois state law provides immunity for people under the age of 21 who have been drinking but who call 9-1-1 to get medical help.
Similarly, university procedures protect students from academic discipline when they have been drinking but call for emergency services.
“In any emergency, our focus is on getting help to the person in need,” said Lt. Joan Fiesta. “State law precludes us from ticketing a 9-1-1 caller in this situation for underage drinking, and medical amnesty is something we have been practicing for quite some time.”
The policies are to reduce the apprehension an underage person may feel in an emergency situation.
Police officers, Student Affairs staff and hundreds of volunteers from campus fraternities and sororities canvassed the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus last week to spread the word about alcohol and drug safety in advance of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. Medical amnesty was one of the points they discussed with U. of I. students.
“In an emergency, it is important to call for help regardless of whether you have been drinking,” Fiesta said. “We’re not going to be concerned about minor offenses in those situations because it is more important for us to keep you and your friends safe.”