U police staff up for weekend

A team of about 20 full- and part-time officers will patrol Friday’s parade and concert.

by Nick Wicker

With all 10,000 concert tickets sold and more events planned around the parade than ever before, campus police are boosting their manpower in light of the University of Minnesota’s 100th annual homecoming celebration this weekend.

Approximately 20 full- and part-time University police officers will patrol Friday’s parade and concert, Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said.

Tickets for this year’s performing acts, Iggy Azalea and Walk the Moon, sold out more rapidly than in the past, he said, and the large turnout means UMPD has to remain alert.

Student Unions and Activities planned both the parade and the concert, but groups like the University’s Alumni Association and campus greek organizations have independently organized a large number of other activities, said Erik Dussault, SUA’s assistant director.

“We typically expect a crowd of about [15,000] to 20,000 people that go down the parade route,” he said. “At any of the events that we plan, safety is one of our big concerns.”

Though homecoming festivities shouldn’t prompt a spike in crime, Miner said he expects some isolated arrests, likely for alcohol-related incidents at either the concert or the parade.

Over last year’s homecoming weekend, officers made at least 11 alcohol-related arrests. UMPD also  detoxed and sent to the hospital about a dozen concert attendees.

Miner said Saturday’s football game is expected to be fairly routine due to its morning start time of 11 a.m.

The Minneapolis Police Department will also be prepared to respond to any needs the UMPD may have this weekend, said John Elder, public information officer for MPD.

“We are simply a support to the University of Minnesota police,” he said.

In past years, motorcycle-borne officers from MPD and the St. Paul Police Department have accompanied the parade, Miner said. But this year MPD won’t be riding along in the procession, as it no longer has any motorcycle units.

Calls to Minneapolis police typically increase over the University’s homecoming weekend, Elder said, due to the sheer number of event attendees. He said the calls are often for parties and for disorderly conduct.

On Oct. 11, the night of Minneapolis’ record-setting Zombie Pub Crawl, officers made nine arrests, Elder said. He said similarly, this weekend’s large crowds are likely to result in more police-citizen contact and potential citations.

“We want people to have fun, we want people to celebrate responsibly and we’d like to help facilitate that,” he said.