Police Chief: Know the law for a fun, safe school year


A Pullman Police officer completes a traffic stop.

On behalf of the Pullman Police Department, I would like to welcome new and returning WSU students to Pullman! My staff and I are committed to the safety of everyone in our community, and you can rest assured that we will do whatever we can to prevent crime and personal injury for those living and learning in Pullman. We ask all WSU students to contribute to these efforts by promoting the safety of themselves and their peers.

Most WSU students come from other communities where expectations may vary. A great rule of thumb for these students is this: If something was illegal in your town, it is probably illegal in Pullman. You are a member of the Pullman community while you attend WSU and I ask that you treat Pullman with the same respect that you would give to your hometown.

Fortunately, Pullman does not have the crime problems often associated with large cities, but that does not mean you should not be careful. Of those criminal activities that do occur, most can be linked to alcohol. For example, officers have found that the vast majority of sexual assaults are not committed by a stranger, but by someone that the victim is acquainted with. Usually, it is someone the victim met at a party or a bar.

Listed below are some examples of frequently enforced violations. Please become familiar with the laws and ordinances that govern the City of Pullman, and help us to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for its students and residents.


• Be familiar with your lease agreement. A large number of guests and/or loud music could result in monetary fines and possible eviction.


• Noise complaints: Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., any resident of Pullman can complain about almost any kind of noise. 1st contact: warning or $100 ticket; 2nd contact: $100 ticket; 3rd and all subsequent contacts: ticket and mandatory court appearance.

• Electronic noise: Complaints about stereos, TVs, PA systems, etc. can be made at any time of the day or night.

• Urinating and/or defecating in public (outdoors): $50 ticket.

• Opening and/or consuming alcohol in public (outside of apartment, balcony, or patio; includes adults and minors): $250 ticket.

• Offenses Against Peace and Order (Fighting): $250 ticket.

• Public Nuisance (event or location involving any of the above or other violations): $150 ticket.

• Display, open, or use marijuana in public (if possessed legally): $103 ticket


• Minor (under 21) in possession of liquor. Arrest & $500 bail.

• Furnishing liquor to minors (beverages or place to drink): Arrest & $250 bail.

• Minor in public exhibiting effects of alcohol: Arrest & $250 bail.

• Indecent exposure: Arrest & $250 bail.

• Malicious Mischief (property damage): Arrest & $250 bail (amount of damage could make this a felony)

• Reckless Endangerment (risk of injury): Arrest & $500 bail.

• Trespass (enter or remain unlawfully on property or in building): Arrest & $250 to $500 bail.

• Theft: Arrest & $250 bail (could also be a felony)

• Minor (under 21) in possession of 1.41 ounces or less of marijuana: Arrest & up to $1,000 fine and/or 90 days jail.

• Up to 1 oz. of marijuana is legal for adults (21 years and older) to possess

o Possession prohibited on WSU property

o Cannot display or use marijuana in public view, including in vehicles on public streets


• Illegal possession of more than 1.41 ounces of marijuana.

• Other drug activity and violence may result in felony arrest.

If someone needs medical care due to excessive alcohol or drugs, call 911 immediately. Pullman Officers will not enforce misdemeanor alcohol or drug violations when responding to overdose calls.

Pullman has a very low crime rate and we work hard to keep it that way. Since officers can’t patrol every block of the City at all times, we need your cooperation in order to achieve this. For any emergency threatening life or property, call 911 immediately. If you’re not sure whether to call, it is best to err on the side of caution and do so anyway. If you see a crime in progress, call immediately. You might be surprised at the quick response. For other things that do not threaten life and property, call the non-emergency police dispatch line at (509) 332-2521.

Officer Shane Emerson is assigned as the College Hill Officer for the 2015-16 academic year. Officer Emerson’s primary responsibility is to work with students and student groups in education and prevention efforts. Shane is a resource for you. Do not hesitate to contact him with questions, concerns, advice, etc. His cell phone number is (509) 432-4949.

You’ll find the police department web page at http://www.pullman-wa.gov/departments/police. The department posts daily activities, news releases and other items of interest. You can follow us at www.twitter.com/PullmanPolice and like us at www.facebook.com/PullmanPD.

I would like to wish you a rewarding, successful and safe year. I look forward to our partnership in keeping Pullman a great place to live, work and learn.