180 ar­rested at party for un­der­age drink­ing

Cecil Whig - - & - By JOSH SHAN­NON

Spe­cial from the Newark Post

— A to­tal of 180 peo­ple were ar­rested for un­der­age drink­ing at a party on East Park Place on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The ar­rests were part of a large-scale, multi-agency op­er­a­tion meant to crack down on out-of-con­trol par­ties in Newark, said Lt. Bill Har­grove, a spokesman for the Newark Po­lice Depart­ment.

This is the third year NPD has held a pre-planned con­trolled party dis­per­sal op­er­a­tion. Ap­prox­i­mately 30 of­fi­cers from NPD, Univer­sity of Delaware Po­lice, Delaware State Po­lice, Middletown Po­lice and Delaware Al­co­hol and To­bacco En­force­ment par­tic­i­pated.

The pre-planned op­er­a­tions in­volve get­ting a search war­rant and re­sult in stricter en­force­ment than a typ­i­cal in­ci­dent in which po­lice break up a party.

“In a nor­mal party com­plaint, we show up, try to iden­tify the residents and ev­ery­body else puts down their beers and leaves,” Har­grove said. “With this, [the war­rant] spec­i­fies that we will corral ev­ery­one and hold them.”

When such an op­er­a­tion is planned, of­fi­cers pa­trolling the city iden­tify where par­ties are start­ing and then hang back to ob­serve the sit­u­a­tion, at­tempt­ing to build prob­a­ble cause for a war­rant. On Satur­day, un­der­cover of­fi­cers went into the party at 302 E. Park Place.

“It was an open party; no­body needed in­vi­ta­tions,” Har­grove said. “We just walked right in and weren’t chal­lenged.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that “al­co­hol was seen be­ing freely dis­trib­uted to the guests, many of which ap­peared to be un­der the age of 21,” and ap­prox­i­mately 200 peo­ple were present,


he said, not­ing that a per­mit is needed for gath­er­ings of more than 150 peo­ple.

A judge signed off on a search war­rant, and po­lice raided the party at around 4 p.m. Any­one 21 or older was al­lowed to leave, while all the un­der­age at­ten­dees were ad­min­is­tered breath­a­lyzer tests and, if found to have drank al­co­hol, were cited for un­der­age con­sump­tion.

Two of the peo­ple ar­rested were un­der 18, but Har­grove was not sure if they were young col­lege stu­dents or still in high school.

Ad­di­tional charges are pend­ing against the residents of the home, whom Har­grove said are af­fil­i­ated with an un­sanc­tioned fra­ter­nity.

Last year, the city came un­der re­newed pres­sure to crack down on off-cam­pus drink­ing after a 20-year-old Skid­more Col­lege stu­dent visit­ing friends at UD died after fall­ing off the roof of a West Main Street home in March. The home had been the site of a large St. Pa­trick’s Day party ear­lier in the day, po­lice said at the time.

The dan­ger posed by ex­ces­sive al­co­hol con­sump­tion was also on dis­play Satur­day, when po­lice search­ing the East Park Place home found an un­re­spon­sive stu­dent suf­fer­ing from an al­co­hol over­dose. The stu­dent was taken to Chris­tiana Hos­pi­tal, treated and re­leased.

“We don’t dis­agree with col­lege kids hav­ing a good time, but it has to be done re­spon­si­bly,” Har­grove said. “It’s im­por­tant be­cause every year, we have in­ci­dents where lives are af­fected by the over­con­sump­tion of al­co­hol.”

He de­scribed Satur­day’s party as a “detri­ment to the whole neigh­bor­hood” and one where “the only pre-plan­ning was where the beer was com­ing from.”

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