Fall marks return of party patrol for Eugene

The Eugene Police Department’s party patrol is back and, officers said, being greeted mostly by a positive response from students.

On Friday night, EPD officers issued nine citations for prohibited noise and nine citations for allowing minors to consume alcohol. Twelve people were cited for carrying open containers of alcoholic beverages, and 56 students were cited for minor in possession.

Officers issued 170 citations the previous weekend for mostly alcohol-related offenses in the campus area.

EPD spokesperson Melinda Kletzok said Friday night proved slightly better
 for officers.

“The crowds were not as large, but there were still issues,” Kletzok said.

While some students express frustrations about shutting down parties before determining the night’s beer pong champion, most party-goers are proving to be compliant and respectful towards the authorities, EPD officers said.

“So far this year, all of the residents I speak with have been cooperative,” party patrol officer Sgt. David Natt said. “The one guy who made a poor choice in how to react to us went to jail.”

He was talking about Zachary Mark Calvert, 20, of Eugene, who was taken into custody after allegedly running from a bike officer who had stopped him to issue a citation for minor in possession.

Calvert was charged with resisting arrest, assault on a public safety officer, interfering with a police officer and second-degree criminal mischief. He also received open container and minor in possession citations. Aside from Calvert, though, Natt said the department received a mostly positive response.

On Friday night the party patrol crew, led by Natt and accompanied by two Oregon Liquor Control Commission agents, broke up three house parties between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. after receiving noise complaint calls from neighbors.

Natt reminds students that they “live in a mixed neighborhood” and “can’t assume it’s all UO students.”

One of those, at 9:40 p.m., led to a bust at a house party on East 22nd Avenue and Hilyard Street, where officers cited four residents for alleged noise violations and allowing minors to consume alcohol.

After searching the house, police found three freshman girls hiding in an upstairs bedroom. They denied consumption until a standard breathalyzer test revealed otherwise. All guests were compliant and officers assured students that their cooperation would be noted in court.

Officers ended a party of an estimated 70 people around 2 a.m. when the large crowd caused neighbors to complain about noise. The four tenants were minors, but cooperated with police.

“We weren’t expecting this many people,” said tenant and sociology major Codey Hills. “My mom’s going to be pissed.”

However, not all residents were as easy to work with.

One female student argued with Natt before finally allowing him to search her home. Two window screens were cut revealing what police called the escape route of several minors. The tenant hoped for a warning but officers refused.

“We have to be consistent and fair,” Natt explained.

The tenant persistently explained to police that she tried to keep the party under control and had been trying to “kick people out” for the past hour.

Losing control of the crowd is a common problem for party hosts, and Natt advises students to manage get-togethers and be aware of the liability issues.

“If you host a party and it can be shown that someone is intoxicated, then someone leaves and gets hurt, you’re liable,” he said.

At a party, it is the legal responsibility of the host to keep guests inside and know who is there. If the crowd becomes uncontrollable, the host should call the police for assistance.
“Often, residents are grateful that we show up,” Natt said.

What does it mean?

  • Minor in possession: No person under the age of 21 shall attempt to purchase, acquire or have in their possession any alcoholic liquor (Eugene City Code 4.115 or Oregon Revised Statute 471.430), nor have in their system any alcoholic liquor (ECC 4.115).
    Offense: Violation          
    Fine: Up to $360

  • Allowing alcohol consumption by minors: No person who exercises control of private real property shall knowingly allow a minor to drink alcohol on the property or remain on the property after consuming (ECC 4.110(3) or ORS 471.410-3).
    Offense: Violation              
    Fine: Up to $1,000

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