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Holiday backup cops should refocus presence downtown


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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

Local law enforcement and cops from out-of-town made 41 arrests on Halloween night alone, half of which were out-of-town students. Paramedics also responded to 27 reports of alcohol overdose.

Chico State is caught in an endless battle. On one side is the university, fighting to produce bright, ambitious students with Chico State diplomas that mean something in the real world.

On the other side is a nasty party-school reputation.

Chico State and the town at large are already taking strides to reduce the damage that reckless partiers cause.

A late-night pancake feed put on by Associated Students is a great way to provide an alternative to students who don’t want to party downtown, while giving partiers a place to hang out when they’ve gone too hard.

Closing the bars down early sends the message that local businesses are willing to put safety and reputation above profit.

However, years of weathering the storm that is Halloween weekend has proven that the best way to fight Chico’s party-school reputation is with force.

The Halloween Operations Event brought in cops from counties and California State Universities all over the state. This tour de force is a stride in the right direction, but it amounts to little if the cops are in the wrong spot.

Walking down Warner Street on Halloween night, students will have noticed the group of five cops boldly guarding the bike racks by Siskiyou Hall.

Just up the street stood another group of five by Plumas Hall. Right down the road, one more police posse posed for pictures with college women dressed as Coors cans.

Meanwhile, downtown, parties raged and ambulances rushed to scrape drunken students off of the streets.

Even when approached by a distressed woman in need of a safe place to wait for a ride, on-campus cops responded with ambivalence, stating that they would only be sticking around for another five minutes.

They sent her downtown by herself in search of an empty taxi cab.

If on-campus cops aren’t going to help out needy citizens around them, they should head downtown to police the streets.

The purpose of a Halloween Operations Event is to keep students safe and stifle Chico State’s harmful reputation that brings in destructive out-of-towners on holidays.

Guarding Plumas Hall and taking pictures with partygoers does not further that purpose.

Next year, when Chico calls in the cavalry for Halloween weekend, it should be sure that the cops have the right coordinates.

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Holiday backup cops should refocus presence downtown