Joint tssk force

Officers from the city and university get serious about party fouls

If you are the kind of gracious host whose parties begin on Thursday and end just in time to pass out in a quiet corner of your Monday morning class, there has been a change that may give pause to your party planning for the new semester:

Any person responsible for a loud or unruly event shall be civilly liable to the city for all costs incurred by the city arising out of a second response which is made by the city police or fire department … during the preceding 72 hour period.

This is how the new Municipal Code reads with regard to Chico’s notorious Second Response Ordinance. It was just last school year that the city began enforcing the decade-old ordinance and charging partiers to recover costs incurred if the second response occurred within 12 hours of the initial warning. Last spring, the City Council approved the new 72-hour extended enforcement period, and this will be the first semester the new rule will be in effect.

“We needed something that had a little more teeth for going after repeat offenders,” said Chico Police Sgt. Dave Barrow, referring to parties that just repeat for two or three days in the same location on busy weekends.

Barrows said the reimbursement costs will be assessed “up to $1,000” and are on top of any fines for the noise violation itself.

“In this pursuit of reducing alcohol consumption by students,” explained Barrow, the city, along with Chico State, is “trying to get at the root of a lot of the problems Chico has had.”

As part of its efforts in the area, the University Police Department will continue its fairly new practice of being first responders to fraternity and sorority parties—meaning students can get hit twice with repercussions from the police and the administration. Up until spring, first response was the domain of Chico police, said Barrow. That changed after university and city police reached a cooperative agreement.

With the return of students, the city will, as per the norm, enact heavy DUI enforcement, Barrow said, adding that bicycle patrols will be increased as well.

Barrow also added that there have been growing concerns about increased instances of alcohol-related violence over the past couple of years. “Many fights have escalated to the point where weapons [can] be involved,” he explained. “Instead of having a fist fight, maybe we’re having a gunfight or a knife fight where only one person has a gun or a knife.”

Encouraging caution, Barrows suggested that intoxicated parties should “walk away from fights out there.” He was also quick to remind locals that “there are a lot of non-students who come into the south campus neighborhood to party…. We have been a hub in the North State for people to come here and party.”