Officials pleased with WCU response
Nearly 100 citations issued during homecoming
WEST CHESTER >> Borough police and elected officials described themselves as satisfied overall with the response to the alcoholfueled rowdyism during West Chester University’s Homecoming Weekend last weekend.
Overall, preliminary police records indicate that 95 citations were issued during the period of Friday, Oct. 21, to Sunday, Oct. 23, to people involved with the homecoming parties and celebrations, according to Chief Scott Bohn. He said that the full number of citations would likely rise as more are processed by officers who had been off duty last week.
The vast majority of those citations were issued for underage drinking and open container violations. Many such citations were issued in conjunction, so that one person would now face more than one alleged violation; other offenses cited were public drunkeness, disorderly conduct, and public urination. Police said they would be asking the borough’s two magisterial district judges to impose maximum fines on those cited — up to $500 for each violation.
He said that the police depart-
ment fielded between 400 and 450 phone calls at its operations center at Borough Hall during the weekend, a figure that is above normal. Two-hundred of those calls were requests for service, he said, “which is above our normal for homecoming.”
“Obviously, we were extremely pro-active,” said Bohn, referring to the number of borough, university, state and local police that were on the streets those days looking for offenders. “We put people on notice. Each year, it would appear that we have a larger and larger number of people attending homecoming than we did in the past.”
Mayor Carolyn Comitta, who said she accompanied police and there observers during the day Saturday to see the borough’s conditions firsthand, declared herself “very, very impressed with the coordination overall between the university, the borough, and our partners.
“It was a very strong commitment to make sure everyone was kept safe and were able to enjoy homecoming in a reasonable way,” Comitta said. “We’ve really got it down. We have been working on this for years, and ever year we find something new. We always want to make sure we are better prepared.”
Bohn said that one additional level of coordination this year was between police and emergency room medical personnel at Chester County Hospital. A spokeswoman for the hospital said that it handled
eight cases of acute alcohol intoxication during the weekend, working in conjunction with the WCU campus Health Center.
Both Bohn and Comitta said that the majority of alcohol-ranted problems occurred in the campus area and in the southeast end of the borough on Saturday afternoon. The mayor said police were able to break up large parties that were getting our of control on South Walnut and South Matlack streets. Although the borough’s Gay Street corridor was crowded, few citations were issued there and no large scale fights broke out,
as had been the case in previous years, Bohn said.
“Everybody knew things were going to be loud and busy, but I think we achieved our goal,” Comitta said.
Prior to the homecoming festivities, borough police warned attendees that officers would aggressively target alcohol and alcohol-related offenses. In a letter from Bohn posted on the department’s Facebook page and distributed on campus, the department stated that anyone observed to be publicly intoxicated would be subject to arrest and detention “until safe to release.”
WCU homecoming events typically include a Saturday morning parade, a football game at Farrell Stadium, as well as campus reunions, concerts, and mixers. But there are also numerous off-campus parties, and crowds of current and former WCU students lining up to visit bars and restaurants in the borough’s popular downtown area. Social media also brings people from outside the WCU community to the borough for events.
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.