The big party crackdown

The partying in Chico isn’t over. It’s just going to be much safer. At least, that’s what university officials and Chico police are saying.

It’s time to educate and intervene, said Shauna Quinn, program manager of CADEC, the Campus Alcohol & Drug Education Center at Chico State University. “Our goal is to send a clear message,” Quinn said. The message to students is simple: If you’re going to party, do it safely.

The rules extend from increased police patrols to zero-tolerance for alcohol violations to fining party hosts for a second police response.

City and university police are going to increase their presence on and around campus during the first six weeks of the semester. There will be zero-tolerance for being drunk in public, for minors possessing alcohol and for providing alcohol to minors, said Police Chief Bruce Haggerty.

“We’re kind of setting the tone,” Haggerty said.

Last May, the Chico City Council passed a second response-ordinance that could cost partiers more than a year’s worth of textbooks. If police get two complaints about a party within 12 hours, the host could be charged up to $1,000 for officers returning to the party. Police will also make an effort to contact the host’s landlord after the first complaint.

Chico police are working with the university, especially CADEC, to educate students about partying safely, so officers won’t have to disperse the parties.

CADEC recently published “The Ultimate Party Guide,” a pamphlet containing safety tips for before, during and after a party, as well as how to avoid and spot problems. The pamphlet also contains emergency phone numbers and information on fines and violations.

“We’re working together … to make our community a safer place,” Quinn said. “We’re doing everything we can do.”

University police agreed. People need to realize alcohol clouds their judgment and is a serious safety risk, Chief Leslie Deniz said. “We’re trying to increase the level of awareness.”

Awareness is likely to increase on Labor Day when people see DUI and WUI (walking under the influence) checkpoints along Warner Street, Ivy Street and through the center of the Chico State campus. The checkpoints will be in effect Sept. 3-4 and on Halloween.

Three educational tables, staffed by CADEC volunteers, will also be set up on Warner Street during the beginning of the semester for a few hours each day.

There is also an outlet for students who want to be part of the solution, Quinn said. A confidential phone line known as the C-Line or Student Concerns Line is now available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for students concerned about safety issues, such as violence, hazing, sexual assault or alcohol abuse.

CADEC does an annual survey to find out if students are drinking less, so it will verify the success of the new measures. “We are an intervention campus,” Quinn said. “We’ll see if there’s going to be a difference.”