Police presence sobers back-to-school parties

Ben Wolford

Number of arrests fewer than usual

Kent city police officers walk University Drive on Saturday night in response to back-to-school parties. Police remained in the area throughout the night. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Police arrested 17 people and cited nearly 50 in Kent Saturday night and early Sunday morning, mostly on underage drinking charges.

There were also some fights and disorderly conduct charges, clerk of courts supervisor Stephanie Tarr said.

Police amped up patrols on University Drive on Saturday night in response to back-to-school parties on the side street near front campus.

Lt. John Altomare of the Kent city police said “a significant number of officers have been assigned to work (Saturday),” though he didn’t know how many from Kent State police, Kent city police and the Portage County Sheriff’s Department were on duty.

No one at the city police department with that knowledge could be reached despite several attempts. Kent State police were acting under the city’s jurisdiction, but a Kent State dispatcher didn’t know how many were on duty.

By 7:30 p.m. Saturday, four or five parties had begun on lawns at students’ houses. Several students at those parties said officers were plentiful but unobtrusive.

Altomare said there were no major problems.

“I think there were less than probably what we had in the past,” he said. “That could have been because of the publicity and the number of officers we had in the area.”

Those charged were arraigned in municipal court Sunday morning.

Police, as well as President Lester Lefton, became aware of large parties scheduled for Saturday night along University Drive.

A Facebook event dubbed “Univershitty” called for debauchery that would dwarf the events of College Fest in April, when rioters set four fires in the middle of College Avenue.

Contact public affairs reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].