MPD created party patrols in response to neighborhood complaints

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.

17 Comments on “MPD created party patrols in response to neighborhood complaints

  1. Please, for God’s sake, someone look into the legality of 61D citations. The fact that a 61D puts an “arrest” on the recipient’s record without the recipient actually getting arrested is absurd. The law does not permit police to just say they’ve punished you a certain way, but not actually incur the cost of enforcing the punishment. Could they hand you a citation that says “This is a 5 year prison sentence. Please pay a fine”? I think everyone would agree no. So saying “We arrest you” without ARRESTING YOU is nonsense.

  2. They don’t have to handcuff you and/or take you to the station for it to count as an arrest. If you commit a criminal offense (which a 61D is, right?) and they detain you while they write you a citation, you just got arrested.

  3. What is the point of this post? The police department listened to the concerns of neighborhood residents and worked together to combat what both sides saw as a public nuisance (and I think everyone would agree drunk college kids can be a public nuisance). So what?

  4. re: This is pointless

    the fact that the neighbors not only dictate MPD policy, demanding persecution of students.. and do it in secret, without informing anyone else?

    besides reiterating the fact that the nighbors are a bunch of self-important tools, this is all news.

  5. The 61Ds are legal. They are citations in lieu of arrest. You still get to go to court and contest it. If you get the citation and pay the fine, it’s on your record. If you get the citation, fight it, and win, it’s not. (Of course, you won’t win, but that’s besides the point. What’s your defense going to be? Yes, I was screaming at my friends at 2a in front of some neighbor’s house, but it’s a college town and we were here first, so it’s ok. That’s against the law. You lose.) So, you get due process, which makes it legal.

    Instead of the 61D, the police can take you downtown and lock you up for the night. The point of the 61D is to “arrest” someone, but not waste everyone’s time when the person is not dangerous and is unlikely to do damage to persons or property. While it sucks, and it’s harsh that someone can have an arrest record for not scooping their pet’s poop (yup, that’s also a 61D), it’s the law. So, it’s not the legality 61D that needs to be fought. It’s that making noise may lead to a record.

  6. @Anon: I don’t see noise violations of any sort in that PDF– not even Disturbing the Peace (unless you’re a dog). Neither are underage drinking, nor public intoxication.

    … Have students been getting 61Ds when they shouldn’t be? Or is this link old?

  7. The thing that really bothers me, besides what’s already been said, is the complaining about SafeRides. Sure, Georgetown residents! Let’s endanger students AND spread that noise out into the whole neighborhood!

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  9. “If the issuing officer observes a violation for which a PD 61D can be issued, but the violator is not present, the citation cannot be left on the property, premises, in the door, on the windshield, etc. The issuing officer must personally hand the (#2) Yellow copy to the violator”

  10. and hopefully while these MPD officers are out patrolling they’ll keep an eye out for more serious stuff like assaults…cause you know that is a type of crime that happens around campus that deserves some police attention too.

  11. The non-student residents of the Georgetown area are indeed “a bunch of self-important tools”. I have personally been persecuted by them, despite no apparent wrongdoing, and in one case was even been subjected to abusive and discriminatory language. If you don’t like the college atmosphere, then move to chevy chase or bethesda, bourgeoise scum. otherwise, i will continue to live my life here.

  12. The argument that the police should spend their time fighting crime rather than pestering students is a red herring. If the students would behave appropriately, the police wouldn’t need to do party patrols and could spend their time “fighting crime.” Do you think the police want to do party patrol? The rational argument has never been that students shouldn’t be allowed to drink (if 21), have parties, and be out and about in the neighborhood. The rational argument is that they should do so while respecting their neighbors. There will always be neighbors that are irrational, but it’s impossible to battle them as long as there are students who are clearly behaving badly.

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