Iowa City police say their “Party Patrols” sent out into the neighborhoods that’re are close to downtown and the University of Iowa campus Thursday through Saturdays, have been successful in stopping big parties and disorderly conduct. The patrols were started in response to concerns from neighbors that the new ordinance that only allows people 21 an over into bars would drive younger people to neighborhood parties.
Sergeant Denise Brotherton says they started the patrols with the return of the students. She says they send out teams of uniformed officers in close proximity to the downtown were most of the students live and they deal with parties, loud behavior, disruptive behavior, pedestrians.
Brotherton says officers are now in the area as parties are just getting started and can take some action. Brotherton says they can maybe stop a party from getting out of control by warning people they’re getting too loud. Or she says if things have gotten out of hand they can shut the party down. They can also deal with people who are out with open containers of alcohol and stop disorderly conduct before it becomes a problem.
Brotherton says the Under 21 ordinance means they don’t have to focus all their resources on the downtown area, and can use the teams in the nearby neighborhoods. So far it seems to be helping cut disorderly conduct. Brotherton says they had no calls for “fights in progress” over this past weekend. She says there were 31 calls for fights in the same time period last year.
Brotherton says in past years they may’ve been busy dealing with things downtown and would not be able to be right on top of things in other areas. She says there are always parties this time of year and in the past they have had assaults and people getting injured, but now they are not having that.
“What we find is officer presence is the biggest deterrent, and because we haven’t had to pull all our resources downtown, we can be out in the neighborhoods and maybe address some of those issues that could’ve been happening that either we were missing or couldn’t respond to, and now we can be more proactive,” Brotherton says.
Information shows that during the last weekend of August of 2009, there were 61 calls for service for loud parties. This past weekend there were 45 calls for loud parties.