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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UAPD out in force for MLK weekend

    The University of Arizona Police Department will be on high alert tomorrow through Sunday night in response to an expected increase in student drinking over the three-day weekend.

    While the department won’t increase the number of officers and police cars on patrol, those sent out will be combing East Speedway and Broadway Boulevards, North Campbell Avenue and North Oracle Road for potential DUI offenders.

    “”We focus on major roadways and perimeter streets,”” Sgt. Eugene Mejia, public information officer for UAPD, said. “”More traffic means more potential violators.””

    Having officers out on patrol also creates a safer atmosphere around campus.

    “”We always try to increase visual presence when staff and students return to campus after holiday break,”” he said. “”We want (police) to be seen so it can create a feeling of safety amongst them.””

    Although students do not commit most DUIs reported by UAPD, officers will focus on those main roads around campus due to the number of alcohol-related incidences that correspond to the arrival back to school.

    “”There’s a small minority (of students) who don’t handle independence well,”” Mejia said. “”Those are the few you see in the news who give other students a bad reputation. Alcohol plays a huge role in that.””

    Sometimes, UAPD chooses to physically increase its force when planning on a surge in celebrations and parties, he said. Such an increase, however, usually doesn’t happen for the first week of classes.

    “”It’s better to go after DUIs than MIPs (minors in possession) because they’re more dangerous, and maybe it will keep more people from drinking and driving,”” Kate McGeorge, a nursing freshman, said.

    The Dean of Students Office has partnered with UAPD to minimize rowdy off-campus parties, although there will not be extra attention on neighborhoods near campus this weekend, Mejia said.

    A main reason for the increased weekend surveillance is to reassure students and staff that UAPD is there for their comfort, Mejia said.

    “”Brand-new students may see us as an adversary role, but we’re actually partners,”” he said. “”All we ask of them is that they become partners with us in making their environment safe.””

    Mejia recommends students report suspicious activity, lock windows and doors both at home and in the car and be aware of their surroundings.

    “”Students can create that first line of defense against crime and lessen their potential for victimization,”” he said.

    UAPD relies heavily on students being responsible for themselves, and mature in making efforts to protect themselves, Mejia said.

    “”Students’ primary goal should be their education,”” he said. “”I think sometimes they need help along the way. We’re that help.

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