Mount Pleasant Police Department and Central Michigan University officials will begin working together to counter the threat of arson and other crimes related to college parties, according to MPPD Public Information Officer Jeff Thompson.
By instituting a new Mount Pleasant city ordinance, police officers can arrest people near couch and dumpster fires if they’re not actively trying to put the fires out. University officials can also move to expel those students who are involved in such malicious arson.
The ordinance was passed in an emergency session on Monday evening after a weekend riddled with community couch fires.
“Students need to understand that there’s going to be violations that are going to be zero-tolerance in our mind,” Thompson said. “It’s against city ordinances to have furniture that is designed for indoor use to be outside.”
Thompson added that the Mount Pleasant Fire Department dealt with five fires last weekend. These fires included two couches, a door and two dumpsters.
Police also had bottles thrown at them during their patrol around certain parties. No officers were injured as a result.
CMU police were also very active, but none of the incidents were serious, said CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley. CMUPD did, however, assist the city with unrelated incidents on Franklin Street that evening.
Thompson said MPPD will meet with university officials on Wednesday to discuss how to deal with fires toward the end of the year. Both police agencies are making sure students know the consequences of committing arson.
“Not only is it going to affect you guys criminally, but there’s going to be other ramifications to that,” Thompson said, “such as court costs and fines associated with that. (Other punishments can include) potential jail time and (having a) criminal history. You could be looking at felony convictions. You could be looking at prison, not just a couple days in county.”
In addition to facing charges, both police departments have an agreement where CMU can expel a student if MPPD arrests them.
“We work closely with the school for all these violations dealing with the students,” Thompson said. “Those names go to CMU, and we’ve already had an agreement with them that any such activity takes place at this time of year, they will be looking (at) expelling those students. They have the right. Anything that’s in violation of the student code of conduct, they can expel them for.”