Party patrol sweeps campus area during weekend

Police issued more than 120 drinking citations over the weekend, officials say.

Justin Horwath

.The liquor flowed last weekend and so did the drinking tickets, as police issued more than 120 drinking citations to University students and other partiers as part of party patrol sweeps.

Minneapolis Police spokeswoman Tammy Diedrich said the police-issued citations over the weekend included:
• 44 for noisy assembly.
• 42 for underage consumption and noisy assembly.
• 14 for consumption of alcohol by a minor.
• 1 for underage possession and noisy assembly.
• 1 for fifth-degree assault.

Diedrich also said police issued 13 formal charges for providing and selling alcohol to minors.

Neighbors around student residences have complained about livability issues, such as noise at night and public urination, she said. The party patrol sweeps will continue as long as these issues persist, Diedrich added.

“If college students had a party that is more lawful, because that would let police use those resources in other places,” she said. “If these people limited the size of their parties, it wouldn’t be an issue. But if you have 100 people and four or six kegs, then there will be issues.”

Sam Shafer, an architecture sophomore, was at a 15th Avenue Southeast residence when it was busted by the party patrol early Saturday morning. Shafer said about six or seven police cars approached the home when he was on the porch.

“(Fifteen cops) came in and kind of corralled everyone upstairs,” he said. “They started saying, ‘you’re getting minors.’ “

Party patrol is a part of Minneapolis’ Safe City Initiative, which city officials grant around $4 million per year to address issues communities find troubling.

Steve Johnson, deputy police chief of University Police, said there were a grand total of 122 citations, with two of those being underage consumption and interference with vehicular traffic and two for loitering with an open container.

“Alcohol is almost always involved when crime happens,” Johnson said. “Alcohol doesn’t make you smarter.”

He said at one of the parties police recovered $326 they alleged went to alcohol sales. The money will be placed in evidence, he said.

Last fall, party patrols gave out 984 citations for penalties that ranged from minor consumption to fleeing police and public urination.

Shafer said after one person struggled and argued with a police officer, the involved officer said everyone would get tickets for noisy assembly.

Shafer said he was the designated driver for the night, and “because of the actions of one person Ö I ended up with a $122 ticket.”

Shafer said he thinks police shouldn’t bust just one party in large sweeps, but should instead concentrate on warning people.

“It’s education vs. punishing people for something that’s going on all over the place,” he said. “I was walking down frat row, and it was like a circus and there wasn’t a cop in sight. It’s not like this is an isolated event.”

Tim Richardson, a Minneapolis city attorney, said typically police give citations if they confront a specific drinking violation, such as underage consumption.

He said police have the authority – and will use it – to book people if they feel the arrestee is a danger to themselves, other people or if police have reason to believe that person will continue drinking after police issue him or her a citation.