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UI, Big Ten arrests fall

BY NICK MOFFITT | SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 5:00 AM

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The University of Iowa police have seen a decrease in the number of arrests and citations in the first two home games, a trend other Big Ten schools have also experienced recently.

This year, the UI police have arrested or cited 26 people during their game-day operations, according to the department’s website.  This number is significantly lower than the 74 reported last year after two home games.

These figures encompass game-day arrests, which include public intoxication and interference with official acts, and citations, which include possession of alcohol under the legal age, possession of an open alcohol container, and public urination.

Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, said the only thing that has changed from last year is the number of staff that are patrolling, noting that the force lost several of the people on the stadium detail from last year.

“[It’s] based on weather, ticket sales, or even the number of officers out there,” he said.

Green said the time of the game can also affect the number of problems the police see.

“The parking lots open at 6 a.m. regardless of when the game is, so the later the game, the longer people have to drink,” he said.

Michigan State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, have seen a decrease in the number of incidents as well.

David Trexler, the deputy chief of police at Michigan State, said part of the reason they have seen a decrease is a stricter set of tailgate rules that decrease the incidence of larger parties.

“From my view, reasonable rules are the reason for it,” he said. “Kids are going to drink regardless, but if you limit the time and create a more family environment, it will reduce numbers.”

Nebraska has seen something similar, said Koan Nissen, the education and personnel officer at University of Nebraska-Lincoln police.

Nissen said previously the university police sent out teams to search for people with open containers, minors in possession, and cases of public intoxication. Over the last couple of years, the department has decided to reallocate its resources, something he said has decreased the number of incidents.

“Years ago… we used to crack down on consumption; I’m not sure that’s really effective,” Nissen said.

Nissen said when there is a large number of people in the area, resources can be focused on things other than searching for offenses.

Green said that’s something the UI police have to take into account as well.

UI police Capt. Loren Noska said the department has to pull around 60 to 70 officers from surrounding areas who are used to help increase police presence around the stadium.

Green said the experience of those officers on the stadium detail has a lot to do with the numbers of arrests and tickets.

He also said the status of the game is huge for what type of crowd officials anticipate will come to the game.

“Sometimes, it is the opponent that matters,” Green said. “If Iowa plays a top team in the Big Ten, those things can affect enforcement.”

With the upcoming Iowa State game, which is sold out, UI police expect an extra 30,000 to 40,000 people to be in the area around the stadium. This is something Green said they expect will bring a few challenges.

He said the number of officers on duty will be a challenge for the department.

“We are not trying to eliminate alcohol consumption for those of a legal age, just enforce the laws that are there,” Green said.


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