At the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, the Metropolitan Police Department began party patrols to monitor Burleith and West Georgetown from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. five nights a week, including weekend nights, according to e-mails exchanged between Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and MPD Second District officers.
Michelle Milam, who at the time was lieutenant of the PSA in which Georgetown is located (PSA 206), said that the patrols were concentrated in Burleith, where the majority of complaints were coming from. That concerned ANC Commissioner Ron Lewis, who said his West Georgetown constituents were just as disturbed by the noise as Burleith residents. He wrote:
[P]lease, let’s end these back and forth e-mails … Just tell us, please, short and simple, that there will be equal patrolling by the “party patrol” officers in west Georgetown and Burleith.”
Milam replied, “Yes, there will be active patrolling in all parts of Georgetown by PSA 206 members.”
The e-mails, which the Voice obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, also reveal that some neighborhood residents have complained about students waiting for Safe Rides, and suggested limiting pick-up locations. One resident wrote,
[E]very Friday and Saturday, the bus runs from 11:00pm- 4:00am. Groups of students stand on [REDACTED], call for the bus, drink beer, leave the cans, drop paper cups, yell, fall drunk, cry and even urinate in my yard in the name of safety …. The University has dished up condescending and arrogant lip service in the name of safety.
ANC Commissioner Ed Solomon forwarded the resident’s comments to members of MPD, including Second District Commander Matthew Klein, with the suggestion that MPD prohibit Safe Rides from making stops at the location of the complaint.
In one of the November community meetings regarding the 2010 Campus Plan, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson touted Safe Rides as something the University had created to decrease student noise. The 1,400 students it serves per week are “1,400 students that aren’t out in the neighborhood making noise,” he said.
The introduction of party patrols is one of several ways the MPD has stepped up noise- and party-control efforts in the past few years. At the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, MPD began to arrest students for alcohol violationsrather than issue citations to them. Shortly after it introduced these patrols, University officials announced that MPD officers were “again authorized—and intend—to issue 61D Citations for excessive noise.”
Current PSA 206 Lieutenant John Hedgecock has not yet responded to questions about whether MPD is still running the party patrols, but Vox will update you if he does.
Photo from Flickr user davidsonscott15 under a Creative Commons license.