Party patrols back in action

This spring, police officers will once again crack down on disruptive parties.

The multi-agency detail designed to curb underage drinking and noisy parties garnered a lot of attention last semester, and police say they’re going to keep at it in the spring.

An exact start date is still uncertain as the spring party patrol is still in the planning stages, said Minneapolis police Lt. Travis Glampe.

“We’re not as concerned with a weekend like this,” he said, referring to the past week’s cold temperatures and snowfall. “Once the weekend hits where it’s nice to be out, that’s the weekend when things start to get busy again.”

But that’s not to say loud, disruptive parties will get a free pass this weekend.

Calls to the dispatch center from complaining neighbors drive the party patrol’s focus, Glampe said.

“The main reason we’re out there is to find parties that are disturbing to others,” he said. “When we get those calls, those are our primary focus.”

Even without the full-blown party patrols roaming campus neighborhoods, boisterous parties still have the potential to be shut down.

Glampe said he hopes the party patrols grab people’s attention and spread the message that loud parties simply are not OK.

Whether students are getting the message or not is unclear, but the sheer number of citations handed out in the fall may open some partiers’ eyes.

The party patrol detail handed out 984 citations last semester, said Steve Johnson, deputy chief of University police.

He said a number of investigations are ongoing that could lead to 20 or 30 more citations, pushing the number of charges past 1,000.

Violations included noisy assembly, disorderly conduct and public urination, but the most popular ticket by far was consumption of alcohol by a minor.

The offense occurred in nearly 60 percent of the total arrests.

The Minneapolis police-led party patrols took place on more nights last year than ever before, leading to the high number of arrests, Johnson said.

“The effect has yet to be seen,” he said, “but people need to know that there will be more party patrol nights.”

Gabe Erickson, an electrical engineering sophomore, knows this all too well. The patrol busted a party at his house last semester, and he spent a night in jail because of it.

“It was ridiculous,” he said. “Murders and rapes are going on, but I understand it’s (the officers’) job.”

Erickson said over 20 officers from four different jurisdictions waited outside his house for an hour and a half before obtaining a warrant and ramming the front door open.

According to Erickson, officers yelled at everyone to get on the ground and used plastic restraints to cuff partiers’ hands behind their backs.

Police charged Erickson for providing alcohol to minors, and he spent the night in jail. Erickson called the evening “an eye-opener.”

“I look around the jail and there are rapists and guys who beat their wives, and that’s not somewhere I want to be,” he said. “It’s not worth it.”

Erickson said he learned from the experience and no longer drinks.

To avoid Erickson’s fate, Glampe advised party hosts to keep the number of attendees down. Having a manageable number of guests not only makes it easier to control

how loud the party gets, but also restricts any unsavory activities that might take place, he said.

When the patrols break up parties, “generally, the house is bursting at the seams” with people, Glampe said. “Bad things are going to happen with that many people drinking in a house.”