Police gear up for weekend

Aug 242006
Authors: By KEVIN JOHNSON AND VIMAL PATEL The Rocky Mountain Collegian

To the dismay of many college-age partiers, police were out in force over the weekend to make sure no major disturbances occurred, and this weekend won’t be any different.

“There was about five times the cops out last night as I have ever seen out in Fort Collins,” said Derrick Mendoza, a senior psychology major, on Sunday. “It was unreal. I’ve honestly never seen that many cops out ever.”

An extra 20 Fort Collins Police Services officers patrolled the streets Friday and Saturday night, writing an additional 113 violations for public urinations, noise violations, open alcohol containers and the like, according to FCPS Lt. Jim Szakmeister.

“The whole idea of that is party suppression so it doesn’t lead to a riot,” Szakmeister said. “If a riot does happen, we can transition and take care of business.”

Vance McCormick, a sophomore life sciences open-option major, said he spent Saturday night party-hopping in an effort to find one with riot potential.

“Everything got busted before we could have any fun,” he said.

But many appreciated the presence and safety the added presence brought.

Jeanette Hoffner, a senior speech communications major, was at a party on Lake Street where she estimated more than 100 people were in attendance.

The mood of the partygoers turned sour, she said, and the house residents tried to get some of the revelers to leave.

Police didn’t harass anyone, but instead just kept a watchful eye to make sure that people didn’t get out of control, Hoffner said.

There were lots of party complaints and violations, but no major disturbances, said CSU Police Department Cpl. Yvonne Paez. She said that this year, like previous years, FCPS and CSUPD joined to create a riot prevention plan.

“I would think this was pretty average,” Paez said, comparing this year’s disturbances to previous years. “I was pleased to see that we didn’t see any major out-of-control issues.”

Back-to-school two years ago was a different story.

Then, riots erupted – one of which was just a block north of CSU near Howes Street and Laurel Avenue.

Tear gas was deployed to disperse the crowd of about 1,500, police said at the time.

Another riot the next night at the intersection of Plum and Bluebell streets left furniture, branches and street signs burned and one car overturned.

Some threw branches, boxes, road signs and a couch on the fire as others vandalized cars parked on the street.

Five people were arrested in those riots, 24 were cited for noise violations and seven were suspended from CSU for a year.

“Police have a job to do,” Szakmeister said. “It’s not that they’re picking on anybody. As long as the students are responsible and behave appropriately, everything’s cool.”

Sports editor Mike Donovan contributed to this report.

Staff writers Kevin Johnson and Vimal Patel can be reached at news@collegian.com

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