Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Did This Year’s Oktoberfest Go on Campus? by William Ricioppo

With Oktoberfest 2013 now over, UW-L police reflect on what went smoothly and not so smoothly.

“This year we issued roughly 400 alcohol-related tickets, and 350 of them were from a three-block radius,” notes UW La Crosse Police Sergeant Scott McCullough.

The area of student housing between West Ave. and 15th Street, and from Vine Street north to La Crosse Street, is always the most problematic. Tickets for open container and underage drinking are the most commonly issued. “Overall, though, the number of arrests and detoxes were about the same as last year, which was down significantly from the year before.”

2012 was the first year when non-resident visitors were not permitted to stay in student housing during Oktoberfest. UW-L PD says the decline in arrests from two years ago is directly related to outsiders not being in the dorms, unlike years past.

“We didn’t see anything like dead-squirrel fights this year,” McCullough jokes. “And, incidentally, none of the cars that were tipped-over occurred in the UW-L PD area of responsibility. Those incidents happened off-campus.”

University Police are not only responsible for the UW-L grounds. Their jurisdiction extends to any adjacent student housing directly connected to campus by side streets.

As all UW-L police are sworn Wisconsin State peace officers, they have the same powers and authority as any other law enforcement agency. A common misconception among young students is that campus police are not “real cops.” Big mistake— they are.

In many cases, such as Oktoberfest, a reciprocity arrangement exists between city and campus police. This allows both forces to overlap jurisdictions and provide the most effective coverage of the event.