As the excitement of March Madness brackets come to a close, the police force of Durham start up their own annual bracket: The Arrest Bracket. In the college town of Durham, night life is booming with drunk students, who become easy wins for the officers participating in the bracket. “There’s a reason why Durham has one of the highest alcohol and drug related arrest rates in the country,” said Officer Tim Lee. “Every year around this time when we start counting up each officer’s numbers, the competition starts to heat up.”
Officer Lee is referring to the number of arrests that each officer is able to make, with the winner claiming a large cash prize. Lee has been the champ for the past three consecutive years. He’s an important man and hard to get in touch with for a meeting. For the interview, we brought donuts as a show of good faith. When asked about his secret to success, he had a simple answer.
“It’s all about having solid relationships with members of the community,” he said while taking a large bite of a donut. Jelly escaped from the corner of his mouth, and stuck to his cheek. It seemed as though Lee was reveling in his glory and didn’t notice. He took another bite, adding, “I don’t want to say too much and risk the other guys at the station finding out how I do it, but I will say it’s not only about having these relationships, but also knowing what relationships to focus on.” Lee reached for a second donut, powdered this time. We asked him to elaborate. When he declined to answer, we realized we had all of the information we were going to get from Officer Lee and needed to start looking elsewhere to answer this question.
We didn’t know where to start. Upon digging further into what Officer Lee was referring to, we stumbled upon an even more surprising discovery. Lee works in cahoots with those who know the ins and outs of the weekend nightlife of UNH. Specifically, a member of fraternity and popular party destination: Alpha Chai Latte. Frat star Josh Englewood was able to give us more details on how Alpha Chai and Officer Lee have formed this unusual relationship, and why it works.
We knocked on the door of the Alpha Chai house to meet with Josh. One of his brothers let us in and led us across the sticky floors to where we could talk to Josh in private. Josh was tall, polite and inviting. “Do you want anything to eat or drink while you’re here?” he asked, offering us Natty Lites as he cracked open a can. Josh seemed a little nervous about this interview, leaving us to wonder: what kind of implications does this arrangement have when it comes to his relationship with his brothers, the student body and the police? We sat down on an equally sticky sofa and began asking him questions.
“Whoever in that police station wins the bracket collects a pretty nice prize. Officer Lee promised to give us a cut of his winnings if we keep him informed about where he can get the numbers he needs to win,” explained Josh. “This is really huge for us because we really need the money. We haven’t had toilet paper in the house for almost a month and a half now. That money from Officer Lee really comes in clutch when we’re running low on the essentials.”
As the days get warmer and spring begins to bloom, darty season approaches, and so do more opportunities for officers to make more arrests before they’re eliminated from the bracket. The influx of students walking around with open containers is certain to feed into these numbers.
“I’ve got a lot riding on the upcoming darty season.” Josh told us as he contemplated the seriousness of his statement and took a rip from his Juul, which was being held by a naked pledge with a brown paper bag over his head. “I don’t want to rat anyone out, but things in the house are getting bad. It’s a free for all in here, every man for himself. The other day a couple of guys got in a fight over the last of the Cheetos. It was bad.”
Josh took a final swig of his drink, and then crushed the can against his forehead, as if out of habit. He pulled another out of the pocket of his salmon-colored Chubbies shorts. The inner turmoil Josh had been experiencing was palpable. His brothers look up to him, and he doesn’t want to let them down.
“A lot of the guys would be disappointed if they knew about this arrangement I think. Countless times I’ve heard my brothers yelling shit like ‘Fuck 12’ and I’m worried they’d consider me a traitor. I’m even more worried because the pressure has been really getting to me. It’s been messing up my game in pong, stack cup, everything, really. I had to drink the bitch cup the other night. That hadn’t happened to me since orientation of freshman year.” Josh took another long rip from his Juul.
When we first looked into the shockingly high arrest rate in the town of Durham, we weren’t expecting to stumble upon a ring of bets made by officers involving said arrests, or a conspiracy uniting both police and frat boys. However, these are the realities that most of the UNH community is shielded from. This shocking discovery has shown us why the arrest rates are so high, and how this might affect the upcoming darty season. With one phenomenon unique to UNH culture explained, we will next examine the ample parking tickets and fines that plague the wallets of students.