UMPD beefs up Spring Jam security

Police are working with members of the community to ensure a safer event this year.

Labour dispute

Stephen Maturen

Labour dispute

by Alex Holmquist and Andrew Penkalski

After last yearâÄôs Dinkytown riot during the Spring Jam celebration, police are working with members of the community to ensure a safer event this year. Some feel the riot, which occurred near the intersection of Seventh Street Southeast and 13th Avenue Southeast, may have stemmed from a slow police response. James Wanta, a philosophy and history senior at the University of Minnesota whose residence was near the riotâÄôs epicenter, said police drove by periodically during the early hours of last yearâÄôs chaos but didnâÄôt take action until things were already out of control. âÄúThey didnâÄôt really make their presence known all too much,âÄù Wanta said. This year, the Minneapolis Police Department will double the number of officers that were on patrol during last yearâÄôs festivities. âÄúI think there was an assumption that we werenâÄôt preparing for anything out of the ordinary,âÄù 2nd Precinct Inspector Bryan Schafer said. âÄúBut that is not the case this year.âÄù Schafer said the Minneapolis Police Department has been developing a strategy for this yearâÄôs Spring Jam weekend for the past three months. Police have also been collaborating with the University, local landlords and neighborhood associations to encourage students to act responsibly this weekend, Schafer said. Minneapolis police and University student neighborhood liaisons have coordinated âÄúproactive door knockingâÄù to educate off-campus residents about the policies like the new social host ordinance, which makes it a misdemeanor to host parties where there is underage drinking. James De Sota, neighborhood coordinator for the Southeast Como Improvement Association, said the door knocking efforts were also used to encourage students to attend safe on-campus and off-campus events rather than drinking excessively. The 2nd Precinct has also worked with neighborhood associations to inform local landlords of the potential consequences for them as well. âÄúThere are rental licensing repercussions if they donâÄôt help get the message out to their residents,âÄù Schafer said. Wanta said that although his house was tear gassed, he didnâÄôt face any other repercussions from police or his landlord, Tim Harmsen, owner of Dinkytown Rentals. However, Harmsen said he did file for eviction on several other tenants. âÄúIt gives the University a bad reputation âÄî a reputation that it doesnâÄôt deserve,âÄù Harmsen said. âÄúIt affects the safety and livability of everybody in the community.âÄù Harmsen said this year he will be sending his tenants a âÄúheads upâÄù letter to encourage them to act responsibly during this yearâÄôs festivities. Harmsen added that having a stronger police presence should help keep things under control this year. De Sota said he thinks police, residents, University faculty and students will be on higher alert this year. âÄúI hope at least that people are a little more proactive this time around,âÄù he said. Both University and Minneapolis police have also worked with neighborhood associations to discourage certain parties planned by neighborhood residents. Police found out about the parties through Facebook as well as through word of mouth, University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. Though police are concerned about potential parties in parts of the Southeast Como and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods, they are not worried about chaos breaking out on University Avenue. âÄúWe believe that Frat Row has a good infrastructure in place to help better control their parties,âÄù Schafer said. âÄúItâÄôs something weâÄôre advocating residences off campus to mimic.âÄù Martin Chorzempa, president of the UniversityâÄôs Interfraternity Council, said the new social host ordinance and increased police presence wonâÄôt change how fraternities host parties during Spring Jam or any other weekend. âÄúUniversity Avenue is an area that is pretty lively both by greek members and non-greek members,âÄù Chorzempa said. âÄúWe always do our best to make sure that weâÄôre collaborating with the University and the neighborhoods and the police to follow all applicable laws.âÄù The majority of University police will be assigned to on-campus activities such as the Saturday concert at Coffman Union, Miner said. The University police department has also purchased public service announcement time on the student-operated station Radio K in an effort to promote social responsibility to a wider student audience. The station began running the 15-second announcements Wednesday and will continue to do so through the weekend, Radio K station manager Sara Miller said. âÄúWe are out in force,âÄù Schafer said. âÄúNo unruly behavior will be tolerated.âÄù