Residents paying for extra police patrols around colleges - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Residents paying for extra police patrols around colleges

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Residents paying for extra police patrols around colleges (WFSB) Residents paying for extra police patrols around colleges (WFSB)

As a result of quality of life issues near campuses in Connecticut, many communities have had to develop extra police patrols.

Schools don’t have to pick up the tab for those patrols, because the issues happen off campus.

Instead, the surrounding neighborhoods do.

The Eyewitness News I-Team investigated two communities—New Britain and Willimantic.

At a time when many people are heading to bed, officers in the New Britain Police Department’s party patrol unit are just getting started on what will be a busy shift.

Within five minutes of them arriving to a neighborhood near Central Connecticut State University, they got a call about a house party where they found at least 100 students crammed inside.

Neighbors said it is an ongoing problem.

"It's frustrating, very frustrating,” said neighbor Roy Riggins. "Yelling, screaming, girls flashing, throwing beer bottles in the yard, urinating in peoples' yards, tipping over garbage cans."

For New Britain’s police chief and the mayor, who are both CCSU graduates, addressing the problem isn’t easy.

“It draws resources away from the rest of the city. For that reason, I do hire extra personnel for these nights,” said New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell.

“We spend in excess of $60,000 a year on extra units for party patrol on Thursday and Friday nights when things get really out of control,” said New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.

About one hour away, Willimantic’s police department said it has the same issue with Eastern Connecticut State University students.

“In 2012, we responded to 79 house parties which lead to 51 in custody arrests,” said Willimantic Police Cpl. Stanley Parizo Jr.

So far this year, Willimantic police have had to break up about half as many house parties, 46 of them, and they have made 31 arrests.

“We'll have to deal with lewd behavior. Urination by both male and female students. The disruption of car alarms when they walk by cars,” Parizo Jr. said.

Police have also had to assign a special party patrol detail, which they said costs taxpayers nearly $14,000 per year, which is money that comes right out of the police budget.

“It’s not violent stuff that we deal with the kids. It's the nuisance stuff, and we get a lot of complaints,” Parizo Jr. said.

Eastern Connecticut State University doesn’t reimburse the city, but they said they do send their officers out on patrol with Willimantic police, and students who cause ongoing problems face disciplinary action.

“I think over the course of the last three years, Eastern is going in the right direction to address the off campus issues and I think our numbers reflect that,” said ECSU Police Chief Jeffrey Garewski.

CCSU doesn’t reimburse the city for the cost of the party patrols either, but they do go on patrol with police also.

They also use email and social media to remind students to be good neighbors, and at least once per year they meet with neighbors.

At the last meeting, neighbors said the school needs to do more.

“I want to see CCSU hold their students accountable for their behavior. I want to see the students hold themselves accountable too,” Stewart said.

Both Central and Eastern university officials said they are committed to eliminating the problem.

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