The University of Rhode Island Police Department, as well as Narragansett and South Kingstown Police, are cracking down on parties this fall semester.
“With the start of the URI school year, there have already been an increase number of calls for house parties and a number of them are underage,” said Cpt. Joel Ewing-Chow from the South Kingstown Police Department. Their goal is not only to have students abide by the law, but to ensure safety and peace with the town community.
According to Ewing-Chow, signs of a party are simple to spot. For example, people walking around the lawn and the littering of beer cans, bottles and trash. However, most of their calls will be from surrounding neighbors. Loud music is often a complaint, in which police have an obligation and duty to investigate. As for entering the premises, police check for impaired drivers and underage drinking.
“Safety is our number one priority, but in the same sense if we sight people, we will make arrests,” said Ewing-Chow.
Lindsay Cullen, a junior who lives off campus since spring of 2017, speaks out about the controversy between rentals and neighbors. “I feel bad for the neighbors for [parties] that get out of control and are broken up because the lights and the length of time it takes,” said Cullen. “However certain neighborhoods are predominantly rentals, and if they’re choosing to live in one of those, they are bringing it upon themselves, when there are so many places that have fewer rentals.”
One thing that URI students are not aware about is the connection between town police and URI police. If students get arrested by the town, then the town sends a report directly to URI police. “We work hand in hand with surrounding towns,” said Maj. Michael Jagoda of the URI Police Department. “South Kingstown and Narragansett Police send student reports, and which it will be sent to Student Dean of Office.”
URI can implement any course of action they think is appropriate with the situation too.
“Our Dean of Students Office can also impose University conduct sanctions to include fines, educational training requirements, probation and more serious sanctions,” said Jagoda
“The police department in the jurisdiction (off-campus) where the violation occurs can impose penalties to include court summons, town ordinances fines and criminal arrest,” said Jagoda. The penalties vary depending on the violation.
Students who host parties in their homes can have a penalty of receiving an orange sticker placed on their front door. The sticker entails actions of nuisance. According to the Rhode Island Independent, police use orange stickers in attempt to cut down on rowdy behavior.
“Closed parties tend to be more controlled and less disruptive to neighbors, and open parties tend to get more out of control,” said Cullen
Weekend nights are especially active with students traveling off campus to houses. According to Ewing-Chow, “the probability of road times increases at 9 to 10 p.m.” Generally, DUI enforcement is present around the shoreline area.
Fake identifications are a continuing issue for underage students who possess them. Bars that have underage students are risking the loss of their liquor license. South Kingstown Police Dept. are trying to educate students that it is not okay to possess these forms of identification.
Speeding is another thing police looks out for. They have stopped multiple drivers for speeding and under the impression of alcohol. Popular places for ticketing are usually Point Judith Road, Ocean Road and R.I. 108.
URI Police offers a safe rides system for students if they are not able to drive home. “We want to have a presence in the URI community” said Jagoda. There are also many different options to grab a safe ride home including Apps Uber and Lyft.
URI, South Kingstown and Narragansett police ask students to be safe, responsible and smart this academic year.