U Police handle security issues

ach year, additional revelers journey to campus in order to participate in the numerous activities scheduled for Homecoming. Since this year will be no different, University Police will be on hand in order to ensure that everything proceeds in a safe and enjoyable manner.
University Police Lt. Steve Johnson played a large roll in planning this year’s security measures. “Everything went all right last year,” Johnson said, and while they expect no problems this year either, extra officers will be on hand at many of the weekend’s events.
Generally, most problems associated with Homecoming have happened on Friday night when most of the parties occur. Major problems have been outsiders trying to crash parties, people hanging out in the street and interrupting traffic and people drinking in public, Johnson said.
The University’s celebrations are relatively calm. At the 1995 Homecoming celebration for the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, police were forced to use pepper spray to break up a party gone awry.
In 1994, after police broke up a party at the University of Florida, students turned violent and began to pelt police with rocks and tip over police cars.
When parties got out of hand at the University of Frostburg State in Maryland, police pelted the students with tickets. Of the 5,000 students at the school, more than 250 received citations for underage drinking, vandalism, noise and disorderly conduct.
Johnson said that in order to prevent these kind problems at the University, police will continue with last year’s successful party patrol, in which “extra officers walk the University beat.”
These officers will make sure that parties don’t become too loud and violate the noise ordinance, and that party-goers do not end up blocking traffic.
A recurring problem during Homecoming is the abuse of alcohol. In order to try and curb this, officers on the party patrol will visit the fraternity-row party areas and give friendly warnings about underage drinking. Johnson said, however, that if people are drinking in public officers will take action, and police will issue tickets for underage drinking.
Homecoming festivities traditionally begin Friday night with the annual bonfire, held this year on the St. Paul Campus rather than in the field next to Sanford Hall. The bonfire will be followed by a dance.
Additional University Police officers will also monitor other Friday events, such as the concerts at Northrop Auditorium and the Whole and the Gophers hockey game against Colorado College.
Generally, major problems at Homecoming are things of years past and the only problems in recent memory have been isolated minor incidents. Johnson said that all students need to do is be responsible, and if this happens, then Homecoming 1996 will be a safe and fun time for everyone involved.