UMPD prepares for Halloween weekend activities

By Ardee Napolitano

As students put on their party hats and prepare to stir the punch bowl for the upcoming weekend, the University of Massachusetts Police Department is gearing up to ensure a safe Halloween for the campus community.

Courtesy Umass.edu
Courtesy Umass.edu

Deputy Chief Patrick Archbald said that although on-campus crime rates have considerably decreased in recent years, UMPD is still planning to keenly monitor one of the wildest weekends every year at the University.

“Even though it is our expectation that it could be just another UMass weekend, we are supplementing our normal shifts,” said Archbald.

There will be a minimum of four officers and one sergeant patrolling around the three campus districts during the nights, Archbald said. That number can be doubled and tripled, depending on the conditions at the time, he said.
Police will focus on monitoring parking lots, Archbald said, because, due to the number of movements in these places, parking lots are frequent settings for crimes.

Archbald also said that patrols will focus on the Southwest Residential Area, and that unmarked police cars will be stationed in the area.

In addition, UMPD is cooperating with Residence Life staff in terms of regulating on-campus parties, underage drinking and drug use. Students are prohibited to wear material that would cover their faces, such as a mask, inside the dorm buildings.

“The Residence Life staff does an excellent job, and that seems to be working well for us,” Archbald said.

Archbald also said that UMPD aims to decrease the number of under-the-influence driving cases this weekend. He said that federal programs, such as “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose,” will help to lessen OUIs.

Furthermore, the police plan to use roadside display boards that flash messages to warn students not to drink and drive.

“We always try to educate folks while they are sober,” Archbald said.

There is a possibility that checkpoints will be established in some parts of campus, according to Archbald.

In order to avoid drunk driving-related accidents, Archbald advises students to plan ahead, and that it would be best to assign a designated driver before you get a bottle of beer in your hands

“When you’re under the influence, you’re not going to make the best decisions,” Archbald said. “If you’re going to drink like crazy, at least have a plan.”

Achbald also reminded people never to drink from punch bowls.

“There could be five gallons of vodka in there and one ounce of cranberry juice. You have no idea,” he said.
Still, Archbald does not expect this weekend to be too wild to handle. Part of the reason for this is that various events were planned by the University that will not serve alcohol, such as hockey games and dance performances.

“Halloween will not be a particularly busy weekend for us,” he said.
Ultimately, Archbald advised students to remember that too much of a good time can turn out bad.

“Be moderate, be careful, and watch what you’re doing,” Archbald said. “Because if you don’t, you’ll make it to a point where you’re no longer in control.”

Ardee Napolitano can be reached at [email protected].