Homecoming week is a time for former students and faculty to come back to the campus they once called home. It’s also a time when current students tend to party like there is no tomorrow. UMDPD Chief Scott Drewlo compares homecoming week to Bulldog Welcome Week, in that there is extra traffic on campus compared to a normal week. Along with extra traffic, Drewlo expects there will be more partying.
“A few more parties,” Drewlo said. “Everybody is kind of in a celebratory mood.”
Because of this, the UMDPD will have more officers on campus and will patrol nearby neighborhoods more this week and weekend. Extra enforcement will come from the Duluth Police Department, community liaison officers and officers working overtime. Drewlo said that at any time there could be four to six officers on campus, and there could be up to 10 to 12 in the area around UMD.
A majority of the officers will be patrolling areas around UMD. Drewlo said that College Street, Mississippi Avenue and Brainerd Avenue have all been party hot spots in the past.
“Historically, they have been a little more active,” Drewlo said.
Drewlo added that houses that have had officers called there before or have built a reputation with UMDPD as a party house may receive extra attention, and even a knock on the door by a community liaison officer.
“They’ll identify one of these houses, they’ll go identify the renters, and they’ll talk with them and say, ‘Hey, we don’t want to mess with your college time — have a blast — but do it respectfully,’” Drewlo said.
“It’s not to play hard-ass with anybody, but just to let them know that, ‘Hey, you better tighten it up a little bit or you could face some serious consequences,’” Drewlo added.
While officers are patrolling neighborhoods, Drewlo said that extra officers will be on campus to quickly respond to calls. He also mentioned that they will have an eye and an ear pointed towards on-campus housing.
“Oakland apartments usually lights up pretty good too,” Drewlo said. “We’ll have extra housing patrol on too, just like we normally would during a busy weekend.”
Even with extra officers on campus, Drewlo said that added supervision and community leaders at events like the homecoming football game may deter some students from partying.
“The same as with Welcome Week and that weekend, there is quite a bit of supervision at these events,” Drewlo said. “In some ways, (homecoming week) is challenging with the extra people partying and stuff, but there’s also a little more added supervision not necessarily from the cops, which kind of helps.”
Drewlo estimates that UMDPD will handout less than two dozen extra citations over the course of homecoming week compared to a normal week, but it all depends on the type of calls they receive.
“It all depends on what type of party calls they get, and if (officers) intervene early enough,” Drewlo said. “Historically, it’s been kind of a small jump, but not a huge (jump).”
“Not to say it couldn’t happen,” Drewlo added, “but like I say, with all the early intervention mechanisms (and) the added supervision, it doesn’t necessarily blimp off the radar screen.”
All this may sound like UMDPD is trying to bust every student they can. Drewlo said that he wants students to have fun during homecoming weekend, but that doesn’t mean doing something illegal.
“Have a blast,” Drewlo said, “but do it responsibly, legally and respectfully.”
BY SAM STROM NEWS EDITOR