Police increase house party documentation

Police in the 2nd precinct have better instructions to combat chronic “party houses.”

by James Nord

In an effort to streamline enforcement of the Minneapolis âÄúnoisy assemblyâÄù ordinance and improve monitoring of chronic house parties, police have been instructed to revamp the documentation process around the University of Minnesota. Inspector Bryan Schafer, commander of the Minneapolis Police DepartmentâÄôs 2nd precinct, prepared directions for officers working around the University of Minnesota that outline the departmentâÄôs protocol on enforcing the ordinance. Under the âÄúnoisy assemblyâÄù ordinance, after a warning has been issued, landlords of documented âÄúparty houses,âÄù as well as attendees, can be fined, said Kendre Turonie, coordinator of the Office of Student and Community Relations (OSCR) at the University of Minnesota. The instructions stress that officers should speak directly with community members who report a disturbance in order to ensure that it is documented, and not simply ignored. âÄúThis is a dual effort to not only get the community engaged in what weâÄôre doing and stepping forward and insisting that they be involved or perhaps consulted by police,âÄù Schafer said. âÄúBut the other piece is to get the cops to interact with the community as well.âÄù The 2nd precinct includes neighborhoods with significant student populations, including Como, Marcy Holmes, and Prospect Park. OSCR works with students, long-term neighborhood residents and police when problems, including parties, arise. Student employees work with specific neighborhoods around the University. Paul Buchanan, a student neighborhood liaison, supports stricter enforcement of the ordinance by police. âÄúIncreased enforcement of these laws âĦ will do a lot to actually even protect students because thereâÄôs a lot of crime and a lot of violence that happen as a direct result of letting parties get out of control,âÄù he said. However, Schafer said the purpose of the new instructions is to prompt the issuance of more warning letters and administrative citations. Because the instructions were handed out Oct. 31, Schafer is unsure if the number of letters has increased. âÄúThe reason I brought it out is to point out that we are not perfect and that this is a work in progress for us too, trying different ways to handle an old problem,âÄù Schafer said. By working with long-term residents, police can document addresses that have frequent unruly parties in their carâÄôs computers, or in police reports. With proper documentation, it is easier for police from the precinct to designate an unruly assembly and take administrative action as specified by the ordinance. âÄúOur hope is that it will impress upon [students] that nuisance parties will not be accepted and all weâÄôre looking for is compliance and weâÄôre looking for reasonableness,âÄù Schafer said.