Green Key sees fewest arrests in four years after policy changes

by Anthony Robles | 5/26/17 2:10am

Green Key weekend arrests by the Hanover Police Department reached their lowest total in the past four years at only 10, down from 22 in 2016, 17 in 2015 and 34 in 2014.

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said that the 10 arrests were alcohol-related, with the charges including public intoxication and unlawful possession of alcohol. While all of the arrests involved at least one of these two charges, Dennis said that some of the arrests had additional charges.

Dennis said there were two arrests on Thursday, four arrests on Friday, of which two were at the Green Key concert, four arrests on Saturday and no arrests on Sunday. Three of those arrested over the weekend were College students.

“The same amount of Dartmouth students were dealt with, but there [were] less non-Dartmouth students from last year to this year,” Dennis said. “I think part of that could be the fact that the concert was only open to Dartmouth students and their guests.”

Safety and Security interim director Keysi Montás said that from Wednesday to Saturday, the department responded to 90 incidents. Last year, Safety and Security saw 88 incidents. Montás said that 18 were on Wednesday, 13 were on Thursday, 41 were on Friday and 18 were on Saturday.

Montás said that the department dealt with six students over the course of those days whose state of intoxication did not warrant transportation to Dick’s House or Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Another six students were sent to Dick’s House, although two of those students were sent for non-alcoholic reasons. Additionally, there were 18 total transports to DHMC, of which 10 were alcohol-related. Last year, five to 10 people were transported to Dick’s House, and eight to 10 went to DHMC.

Montás also said that one individual was taken into protective custody by Hanover Police over the weekend.

Dennis said that the decrease in arrests could be partially attributed to the new security measures that were enacted this year, which included requiring concert-goers to wear wristbands for the first time in an effort to curb accessibility to the Friday night concert and barriers to prevent entry by Upper Valley residents.

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said that the barriers were put in place to reduce the likelihood of non-Dartmouth students, particularly underage high school students, attending the concert. In previous years, town officials have seen a significant number of highly intoxicated non-Dartmouth students in attendance, many of whom required transport to DHMC, Griffin said.

“It’s about trying to control that perimeter a little bit better in addition to getting the word out in the Upper Valley that this is not a party for the whole Upper Valley,” Griffin said. “This is not a party for high school students, it’s a party for Dartmouth students and their visitors. It’s not an Upper Valley bash.”

Additionally, Griffin said that while the number of arrests this year was down compared to those of previous years, the number of emergency medical service interactions, which totaled 23, was still on the higher end. Despite this, she said that emergency services did not have to transport any more than they could handle.

Griffin said that the town’s main mission was preventing a reoccurring problem over the last few years, namely diverting many of the ambulances in the Upper Valley to transport patients from Dartmouth to DHMC’s emergency room. In 2015, every ambulance in the Upper Valley had to respond to intoxication calls at the College during the concert, she said.

“That, to us, was just not going to be acceptable,” Griffin said. “We can’t have every single ambulance in the entire region tied up because, heaven forbid, there’s another medical emergency and somebody can’t get transported because we’re transporting intoxicated students.”

As for the barrier, Griffin believes that it will be used during future Green Key concerts because it was a “positive influence” on the event. While town officials have not debriefed College administrators about this new security measure, Griffin believes that the College will see the barrier as something that “helped manage the number of non-Dartmouth students attending the events on Friday.”

In an email statement, associate director of the Collis Center for Student Involvement David Pack echoed Griffin’s statement, saying that the initial feedback from Hanover Police and emergency medical services at the concert on Friday was generally positive with regard to the changes and their effectiveness.