Pubdate: Tue, 05 Dec 2006
Source: Appalachian, The (NC Edu)
Copyright: 2006 Appalachian State University
Author: Nick Ianniello
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Youth)


"I gave them a chance to fess up, that's more than I even had to do," 
Appalachian State University Police officer M. Eric Miller said.

He held in his hand the paper work he needed to get a search warrant 
for a room in Cone Residence Hall.

One of the Cone RAs had smelled marijuana smoke coming from the dorm 
and had called University Police.

Miller said he told the students if they turned over whatever drugs 
they may have had in their possession, he would only write them a 
university citation instead of a state citation.

"It's our way of cutting them a little break," Miller said.

However, these students had refused to turn over anything, so Miller 
and officer Daniel L. Harless wrote up all the paperwork they needed 
to get a search warrant and drove to the Watauga County Magistrate's 
Office while another officer stayed with the students in question.

Miller has worked for the University Police since September 2004.

After spending four years in the Marine Corps, Miller decided that 
police work was what he was best suited for. He worked at a 
lumberyard during the day and attended Basic Law Enforcement Training 
(BLET) in the evenings. When he finished BLET, the only police 
department he applied to was Appalachian.

"It's a great department with lots of room for advancement," Miller 
said. "I can probably retire out of ASU."

Miller is currently taking his first part-time semester of 
undergraduate classes so he can earn a degree in criminal justice.

"I'm a full-time cop and a part-time student," Miller said.

Harless earned his degree in criminal justice from Wilkes Community College.

He began working for University Police as a dispatcher. He has been 
an officer for three years.

"Both of my parents work at Appalachian," Harless said. "It seemed 
like a great place for me to work."

At the magistrate's office, Miller was sworn in and he proceeded to 
explain the situation to Watauga County Magistrate Joseph Robinson. 
In a few minutes, Miller and Harless were on their way back to Cone 
with a search warrant for each student.

They presented the students with their search warrants and 
immediately searched both students.

Finding nothing, Miller and Harless disappeared into the Cone residence.

After a few minutes, Miller stepped outside and informed each student 
that they were under arrest for possession of marijuana and marijuana 

"I don't like arresting students, but they didn't leave me any other 
choice," Miller said.

Both students were handcuffed and taken to a police car while Miller 
and Harless inventoried and collected two pipes, a water bong, 
various marijuana stems and seeds and an extensive collection of 
beer, gin, whiskey and wine bottles.

The alcohol bottles were thrown out, while everything else was taken 
back to the police station to be photographed.

Each student signed a document stating the objects were taken from 
his room. Then Miller and Harless drove them to the magistrate's 
office in separate cars.

There, each student spoke with the magistrate who charged them with 
possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia and then allowed 
them to be released without posting bail.

"When you go out looking for a job, your employers are going to see 
this and they won't like it," Robinson said.

Harless said when the students left the magistrate's office, they 
were talking about going out partying to "make sure this night isn't all bad."

"I guess they didn't learn anything," Miller said.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman