With about 4,400 freshmen on campus for their first college quarter, Davis police officers are working extra hours to keep alcohol-related incidents down.
The UC Davis Police Department and the city of Davis Police Department are placing extra patrols on campus and downtown. Categorized as “fall enforcement”, extra officers are assigned to these locations for the first six weeks of the quarter.
Davis PD issued two extra foot patrols and one officer in a vehicle in downtown drinking areas. There are also one to three bike officers that patrol downtown during bar hours.
“Freshmen students don’t have experience with drinking,” said Lt. Matt Carmichael of the UC Davis Police Department. “Their first experience is usually at college. [Fall enforcement] targets students who live on campus, to make sure students get back to campus safely.”
The police departments are working in conjunction with the Safe Party Initiative. Extra enforcements have been assigned every fall quarter for at least eight years, Carmichael said.
The Safe Party Initiative is a program on many college campuses to address high-risk drinking. In addition to the police departments, Student Health Services (SHS), Campus Violence Prevention Program, Student Housing and Student Judicial Affairs (SJA) are among the campus and community groups involved in this initiative.
“The beginning of the academic year brings a rise in excessive drinking, underage drinking, large parties, vandalism and the number of people who visit bars,” said Mandy Li, alcohol, tobacco and other drug risk reduction coordinator at SHS.
In the first four weeks of the quarter, there have been 64 noise complaints, six arrests, three minors in possession citations, two SJA referrals and one DUI arrest.
“They’ve been busy,” said Davis police department Lt. Glen Glasgow of the extra patrols on campus and in the city.
The UC Davis PD also assigns extra foot patrol on campus around 10 p.m. and in the quad around 2 a.m.
“We also partner up an officer at the Davis PD with one of our officers for weekend party patrols,” Carmichael said. “We patrol neighborhoods typically on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.”
Aside from patrolling, the police departments are working with downtown drinking establishments to increase awareness of this issue.
“We’ve been developing a collaborative plan [to decrease] violence and public intoxication,” Glasgow said. “Our objective is to use coordinated effort with stakeholders in the downtown area.”
The Safe Party Initiative also reaches out to students to make them aware of this issue. The Health Education and Promotion (HEP) department of SHS heads the education component of the initiative.
“A new piece that Health Education and Promotion has added this year has been to start a feedback loop to create Aggie ads to share Fall Enforcement statistics from the Davis Police Department and UC Davis Police Department with students on campus,” Li said.
With the outreach efforts and extra patrols, efficacy is a main concern. Although initially funded by grants, the departments now finance fall enforcement.
“Our involvement is purely at the discretion of our department,” Glasgow said. “We are absorbing all the associated costs.”
Fall Enforcement officially ends on Oct. 29.
SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.