Police issue citations over Spring Jam weekend for Operation NightCAP

by Rocky Thompson

Thirty-six officers roamed the streets of the University and its surrounding area over the weekend on the lookout for illegal alcohol activities and drunk drivers.

During the weekend, police issued 21 driving under the influence citations, 41 minor consumption of alcohol tickets and 11 drug-related tickets.

During Spring Jam weekend in 2002, police cited 52 people for underage consumption, and six people were arrested and booked at Hennepin County Jail for driving under the influence.

Police ran an initiative called Operation NightCAP during Spring Jam in 2002.

University police issued 10 open-bottle tickets but no warnings this year.

“I know for a fact that there were all kinds of people (police) had dump out their drinks. These numbers are probably low,” University Police Capt. Steve Johnson said.

University police worked with Minneapolis police, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Patrol as part of this year’s Operation NightCAP.

University police scheduled the event several months ago to coincide with warmer temperatures, Johnson said.

“The goal is to make the streets safer and to keep people from drinking and driving,” Johnson said.

Twenty-one officers came from outside the University force, while the University police added seven officers to its eight-person staff. They focused on underage drinking activity on campus.

They also stopped motorists for traffic- and equipment-related offenses to determine whether drivers were impaired by alcohol.

Of the seven extra University police working over the weekend, two worked with Operation NightCAP, Johnson said.

Three officers rode mountain bikes on “party patrol” while two others patrolled housing areas looking for parties, some of which revolve around illegal drinking, Johnson said.

The program, funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, puts extra uniformed and plainclothes officers on the streets and in University neighborhoods during peak party hours.

University police ideally run the program six times per year, Johnson said.

Operation NightCAP initiatives are spaced through the spring and during major events such as homecoming, he said.

There have been three this spring, Johnson said, and one was during the hockey riots.

Rocky Thompson covers police and crime and welcomes comments at [email protected]