Madison house party patrol ends its season
Police look for violations including overcrowded parties, underage drinking
The last home game of the Wisconsin Badgers football season drew tens of thousands of fans to Camp Randall.
For many of those fans, the fun doesn't begin and end with just the football game.
A number of fans tailgate out of their trunks, while others go to bars around the stadium. And for a large number of students, house parties are the pre- and post-game celebration of choice.
Those house parties can be problematic if they get out of hand. That’s why the Madison Police Department has designated officers patrolling the neighborhoods around the stadium, specifically those throwing the bashes.
Sergeant Shawn Engel and his team have kept an eye on Lathrop Street all season. Other similar groups patrol parts of Regent Street and Breese Terrace.
Engel said they look for over-crowded gatherings.
"If they're going to become an issue, it's because there are so many people packed into a small area," Engel explained.
Engel said officers will check for hosts who are selling alcohol without a permit, underage drinking, and open containers on public property, among other violations. He said the bigger the party, the greater the potential for more trouble.
"When we start getting people that show up to parties and we don't know who they are, we're not ensuring that they're of age, that just invites bigger problems later," Engel said, "and that's what we're trying to head off from the front end, is just make sure these things don't get out of proportion and end up with bigger problems."
Those bigger problems include burglaries and sexual assaults, Engel said.
As more games are played, neighbors around the stadium learn to deal with the increased police presence.
"In some situations, yes. In other situations, no," resident Tyler Faber said when he was asked if he liked police patrolling during his parties. "We are students. We like to have fun. But we do appreciate what they can do."
Engel said the issues and citations linked to house parties have been minimal this season, especially considering the number of people police deal with at football games. Issues have decreased as the season progressed and students living around Camp Randall understand what police will not tolerate, Engel said.
He added that most college students are compliant with what police ask them to do. If they aren’t, citations could total thousands of dollars, depending the offenses.
"We're just trying to educate people what to be aware of and what our expectations are, trying to keep these games a fun event for everybody that comes down,” Engel said.
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