Police team up with Carriage residents to erase stigma of partying
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2012 22:09
Carriage House apartments have begun a partnership with the Mansfield Resident Trooper’s Office in an effort to promote a safer and higher quality living environment.
“Anyone with a past history of Carriage House knows it’s known for their parties,” said head of the Mansfield Resident Trooper’s Office Sergeant Richard Cournoyer. “There’s new management at Carriage, and they are into a safe environment and not into partying. [They] wanted a high quality and safe place to live.”
In efforts to remove Carriage’s stigma as what Cournoyer calls a student invasion of Mansfield, Cournoyer and his officers are personally working with the residents of Carriage House to keep the apartments safe and to promote a healthy relationship between the Mansfield Troopers and Carriage residents.
Ryan Fried, a 7th-semester management information systems major and resident of Carriage House Apartments, said, “... Cournoyer ... has started a unique relationship with the residents of Carriage.” Fried added that some students had actively sought out to maintain a working relationship with the police. He said that Sgt. Cournoyer has played a major role in creating this open and inviting relationship between the two.
“He has come up to our apartments just to say hi. He wants to make sure we’re using him and his team as a resource, and not be afraid of them,” Fried explained. He added Cournoyer is working to promote self-policing within Carriage.
“The number one thing is I want to have a good working relationship with the students,” Cournoyer said.
Cournoyer is helping Carriage House residents keep strangers off the property, and requiring them to attend one of three information sessions as a way to ensure they have the same quality of life as any citizen of Mansfield and are held to the same standards.
“The meetings were to communicate with them that they are citizens of Mansfield and they have full rights as any year-round citizen,” explained Sgt. Cournoyer. “We want make the students aware that they are a valuable part of the community. We want them here.”
“Students think ‘this is a college town, we’re supposed to drink. What is [the police’s] right to prevent us from going to Carriage House and drinking and smoking marijuana?’” Cournoyer said, “I want anyone to go into any law book and show me where underage drinking is a right, where hosting a party and giving alcohol to minors is a right just because it’s a college town. Those laws don’t exist.”
The University of Connecticut Police Department has also joined with Cournoyer and his team to keep Carriage a safe environment.
While the police department and the Mansfield State Troopers have worked together in the past, according to Captain Hans Rhynhart of the UConn Police Department, this joint mission is new. Rhynhart added that the UConn Police Department has aided the Mansfield Resident Troopers with the formalized program at Carriage House.
“[The UConn Police Department] wants to provide a unified police force [with the Mansfield State Troopers]. A better partnership between the two agencies, and provide a clear, more important message from the police agencies.” Rhynhart said, “We’ll handle issues that may arise such as underage drinking and narcotics. And issues we can tackle together will be the services we’re looking to provide.”
Rhynhart said that the issues don’t fall solely on the police force, but “on the whole community of Mansfield and the university community.”
The actions taken by Carriage House residents and the Mansfield State Troopers have shown results. “[It’s] definitely a safer environment,” said Bobby Anastasion, a 7th semester Marketing Major, and Carriage House residents.
“Weekend one was terrible. People from everywhere came to Carriage. Weekend two, however, I saw an 80 percent compliance from the renters trying to do the right thing,” said Cournoyer. “Unfortunately, there are the 20 percent who manipulated the rules and the message given by the Mansfield police by invitations through social networks and thousands came.” He added, “We’ve taken strides towards a safer environment, we’ll fix it.”