Of­fi­cials pleased with WCU re­sponse

Nearly 100 ci­ta­tions is­sued dur­ing home­com­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

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.

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