THE DRUNK PATROL

CLASS STRUGGLES Parents, relax: Muffy and Brad Anthony Taylor III are safe, even if they experiment with a few brewskis between classes at SMU. That’s because of Safe Rides, a program in which SMU Department of Public Safety officers are dispatched to rescue those juvenile drunks before they smash your gorgeous Jag into (God forbid) a Chevy Nova.

Safe Rides, now four years old, answers calls from tipsy students needing rides home on any given party night. The program is the brainchild of Lt. BOB KAVANAUGH, now head of SMU DPS. Back in 1986, the proposal met resistance from some who worried that students would abuse the service, taking one of the school’s two night officers away from the campus. It hasn’t happened.

Well, not much. “I had some kids at a Taco Bell or something over near Greenville that called in and said, ’Oh, we’ve been abandoned because we didn’t want to ride with this guy who’s drunk,’” Kavanaugh recalls. When he arrived, the students, all sober, admitted that they just wanted a ride home. After some stern remarks on the irresponsible tactic, Kavanaugh did his duty.

“1 took them out to White Rock at 1 a.m. and dropped them off,” he says. “Told them to walk home.”

That’s a joke, parents. The scholars got their ride, and abusers of the system have been a tiny minority. It’s worth it, Kavanaugh says, to be able to help students like the girl who called from Addison with no money and no boyfriend-drunk, he’d left her for a louder party. But crime was hopping that night. Kavanaugh says, so he had the distraught coed take a cab, then paid the fare when she arrived.

So it’s working. Now if DPS could just get them up in time for class the next day.

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