U saturation patrol looks to reduce homecoming misconduct

by George Fairbanks

For the second year University Police will participate in a saturation patrol this Homecoming weekend in an effort to reduce drunken driving.
Campus police presence will increase beginning Friday. Also, the department will beef up patrols at the Homecoming parade Saturday. In the past, police say, the parade has been a source of trouble for neighborhood residents and parade watchers.
“Last year there was quite a bit of drinking and disorderly conduct at the parade,” said University Police Capt. Steve Johnson. “People with children were disgusted with some of the behavior.”
On Saturday night, Operation NightCAP, a safe and sober program, will kick off with more that 30 squads from several local police agencies. Officers will fan through campus looking for drunken drivers.
The police said they hope their presence will deter public drunkenness and misconduct.
However, officers will also be ticketing minors for underage drinking and handling incidents of disorderly conduct. Police will also be on the lookout for public consumption of alcohol.
Officers have a certain amount of discretion when determining punishment for disorderly conduct. Police can do as little as break things up or if need be, arrest the people involved.
While Johnson wouldn’t speculate on the number of arrests that could potentially be made, he said he expects the number to go up because of the heavy increase in officers.
“Homecoming is a time to celebrate, a time for fun,” Johnson said. “We want people to have fun. We just want them to act responsibly and have a safe and memorable sesquicentennial homecoming.”
George Fairbanks welcomes comments at (612) 627-4070 x3221. He can also be reached at [email protected]