University police will go on ‘party patrol’ this weekend

by Dan Haugen

University police will have several extra officers working overtime this weekend to patrol party houses and combat underage drinking on and around campus.

The effort is part of a federally funded program called Operation NightCAP, which will include officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department.

“Officers will be out looking for underage drinking violators,” Universiy Police Capt. Steve Johnson said.

University police are well-acquainted with the NightCAP program; in April, Operation NightCAP was initiated for Spring Jam weekend. During that time, police issued 21 driving under the influence citations, 41 minor consumption tickets and 11 drug-related tickets.

University police plan to have additional officers on “party patrol” duty for several weekends, Johnson said.

The first week of fall semester is typically busy for police, but parties are not the only problems, Johnson said.

This week, University police issued between 30 and 40 jaywalking tickets per day in an effort to curb traffic problems. Johnson called it part of an “equal opportunity” traffic enforcement approach – one that does not solely focus on motor vehicle violations.

“We need to have people following the rules so that it’s orderly and safe,” Johnson said, adding that Washington Avenue can be particularly dangerous because it has some of the busiest bus stops in the Twin Cities.

University police have also had officers on bicycles this week and stopped 30 bicyclists for traffic violations Wednesday.