S&S predicts trouble, steps up patrols

by Phil Salinger | 10/21/05 5:00am

Whenever a thousand college freshmen sprint around a massive fire, law enforcement officials tend to take extra precaution.

As the bonfire burns this Friday evening, Hanover Police and Safety and Security will be taking extensive measures to protect the safety of students and to catch anybody who takes the festivities too far.

Hanover Police plans to staff between 20 and 25 personnel on and around the Green during the fire, which will entail pulling officers from other jurisdictions such as Lebanon and New London, Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone said.

In order to improve efficiency, police will set up a makeshift processing station just off the Green so that any officer who makes an arrest will not have to waste his time bringing the assailant all the way back to police headquarters.

The Green-side station will allow police to get a preliminary identification of the subject and of the arresting officer before the officer hands the individual over to the station, allowing the officer to return to the fire, Giaccone said.

Safety and Security will also increase its presence, as every one of their patrol officers will be working that evening, College Proctor Harry Kinne said.

On top of the slew of Safety and Security officers on duty, the College has also hired personnel from Green Mountain Security, a private security company, to assist as the freshmen stampede around the fire. The primary job of these officers will be making sure no one gets hurt within the circle in which the freshmen traditionally run, Kinne said.

The Green Mountain Security officers will be "basically standing in the circle making sure no one who falls down gets hurt," he added.

Police expect a large turnout Friday night consisting of members of the student body, alumni and residents of Hanover and surrounding communities, Giaccone said.

In spite of the magnitude of the occasion, the crime rate has historically been relatively low at the bonfire, according to Giaccone.

"The number of arrests, for the size of the crowd, has been fairly small," he said.

During last year's Homecoming weekend Hanover Police reported 16 arrests, five of which were related to the bonfire.

The freshman bonfire is not the only highlight of this weekend's festivities. Many also look forward to the football game and the Friday and Saturday night parties.

Despite the increased activity on campus throughout the whole weekend, Giaccone said, Hanover Police's increased vigilance will be specific to the bonfire and extra officers will not be patrolling at other times.

Safety and Security, on the other hand, does plan to maintain its increased watch throughout the weekend's other events, Kinne said. He highlighted the football game as a prime example of a need for extra help.

"We think we're going to have a pretty big crowd and we're going to beat Columbia," he said.

Kinne also expressed optimism that the weekend would run smoothly, but added that students can help Hanover Police and Safety and Security keep everyone safe.

He had one main piece of advice: "Everything in moderation."

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