Police Aim to Cut Down on Post-Game Celebrations
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Category: News > City > Crime
With support from various neighborhood associations and university organizations, UCPD and the Berkeley Police Department initiated a joint program this football season to cut down on noisy post-game partying.
The program was launched after the first football home game, versus Maryland, on Saturday, September 5, and will be used again following certain future home games. Through the program, UCPD hopes to ensure student activities after the game do not negatively affect the surrounding community, according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao.
In a letter sent to residents of the Southside neighborhood on Sept. 3, UC Berkeley's Local Government and Community Relations director Caleb Dardick addressed concerns about how game day behavior "impacts our community's quality of life." The letter introduced the program, which aims to decrease response time by stationing officers closer to Southside disturbances.
According to the letter, the program consists of deploying the UCPD's Mobile Command Vehicle and using a 12-passenger van to transport individuals causing disruptions. Complaints were relayed to the command vehicle, located at Parker Street and Hillegass Avenue. Officers were then sent to the locations of the disturbances.
The program, which was funded by the Cal Athletics Department, only dealt with post-game partying rather than pre-game partying, according to Yao.
From the end of the game until 2 a.m., police issued nine citations and eight Field Interview cards, and arrested one student for drunkenness, according to police reports. Students who were issued a citation or Field Interview card could be subject to action by the Student Conduct Review Board.
Yao said the program was a success because UCPD received positive feedback.
"Our goal has always been two-fold: To educate the residents about what is acceptable ... and to minimize the negative impacts on the community," Yao said.
Complaints raised in recent years may have to do with the increased number of night games. According to George Beier, president of the Willard Neighborhood Association, the impact of student partying is greater when students can start drinking earlier in the day.
"The neighborhood would just rock," Beier said.
Beier noticed a difference in the level of student partying due to the use of the program.
"We very much appreciate what the university is doing," Beier said. "(Game day activities are) a wonderful part of student life, but there are limits to what the neighborhood can take."
Party Safe at Cal coordinator Karen Hughes heard about the pilot program during the Maryland game and decided to observe student experiences with the mobile command center. She felt the vehicle was useful in that it served as a "big visual reminder for students of the alcohol policies they can be held accountable to."
Hughes said the program is a positive tool for raising awareness about the impact partying has on neighborhoods, but also noted that student partying can be just as problematic to the surrounding community on nights without football and felt that further initiative focusing on all nights would benefit the community.
Although the program was not employed for the second home game, against Eastern Washington University, Berkeley Police and UCPD plan to use the new program at the next home game, versus the University of Southern California, on Saturday, October 3, according to Yao.
Contact Stephanie Baer at [email protected]
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