Police speak out about Spring Weekend
DUI checkpoints included in this year’s campus security efforts
Police vehicles, like those shown above, become more prominent over the weekend, as UConn police increase security for Spring Weekend. Jon Kulakofsky/The Daily Campus
While university sponsored events and student merriment will maintain a constant presence during this year's Spring Weekend, so too will the university police. Students may feel that presence in the form of DUI checkpoints, parking restrictions and the blocking off of Carriage; however, the department insists it is so students can more fully enjoy the university-sponsored events.
"It's really become a university event, where multiple partners at the university collectively got together to come up with a plan to make this a positive and safe weekend. The result of that collaboration is a result of what we're having this year," said Deputy Chief of Police Hans D. Rhynhart.
The changes made to preceding Spring Weekends were sparked by the violent death of UConn student Jafar Karzoun. Karzoun was the victim of a violent pummeling at the hands of Edi Rapo, a non-affiliate of UConn. Since the tragic event, as well as the the general debauchery of Spring Weekends of the past 10 years, the university has been working in tandem with the police department to keep the weekend about the school and strictly the students who are enrolled here.
"10 years ago a problem was the number of unaffiliated people coming to campus, and one of the strategies we have used is reducing the unaffiliated of non-UConn people that can come and create problems for the campus." Rhynhart said.
This strategy can be felt by the past two Spring Weekends in which Residential Life sent out specific emails urging students to keep their unaffiliated friends off campus, and restricting unaffiliated persons from visiting campus, unlike most weekends where that restriction is not present.
To further hone in on the restricted presence of non-students, university police will be blockading some parking lots, and only allowing students to park if they show their parking pass. Many lots will be closed off to non-UConn students.
"If you have a parking pass to park on campus you're fine. If you don't have a parking pass but you're driving here from another place, you're not going find a place to park."
An addition to security for this Spring Weekend is the implementation of DUI checkpoints. According to a press release from Rhynhart, "The checkpoints will be in operation during the evening hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday April 24,-26 2014 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m."
The checkpoints will initially be placed by North Eagleville Road corridor by 195, and Mansfield Road, as well as one by Hunting Lodge Road. However, these checkpoint locations will be subject to change throughout the weekend.
"It's just another opportunity to get an intoxicated driver off the road, if we get just one its a success." Lieutenant Andrew Fournier said.
In addition to the DUI checkpoints, police will also increase security at off campus housing complexes. "We've worked with CT state police on a contingency plan for Carriage House apartments and Celeron House Apartments."
Officers like Fournier will be seen on foot during many of university sponsored events, but these street officers will be maintaining a pure security support role.
"Any event, the Boston marathon for example, there are a lot of police officers that work that, but they're just there for traffic control. Students can view us in the same way." Fournier said.
Although many additional restrictions will be in place for this weekend that would not be in place any other time of the year, the university and it's partners like the police department urge students to go the sanctioned events and have a great time.
"The focus of Spring Weekend is student oriented events, and limiting it to people who are students at UConn. We want our students to enjoy their house, their campus, free from influence of non-affiliates." Rhynhart said. "I call it 'our house,' and you don't destroy your own house."
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