Police to continue Welcome Weekend-level enforcement during big event weekends


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Police Captain Paul Lauria presents Welcome Weekend feedback to the Mount Pleasant City Commission on Sept. 14 at City Hall. 

Students can expect Welcome Weekend-level police enforcement during all of Central Michigan University's big event weekends. 

At tonight's Mount Pleasant City Commission meeting, Mount Pleasant Police Captain Paul Lauria presented feedback to commissioners regarding student behavior during Welcome Weekend. 

He said police implemented plans to deal with behavior, including large crowds, ordinance violations, trash and fireworks. The level of enforcement seemed to work, and police didn't have to deal with anything they weren't expecting. 

"We didn't see non-students doing assaultive behavior, and that's a good thing," Lauria said.

Police cited and arrested nearly 200 people during that weekend, including 107 open intoxication citations and 56 minor in possessions. 

Part of the police department's plans is to hold landlords more accountable for the behavior of their tenants. This includes meeting with landlords to explain expectations, and possibly citing the rental owners along with the renters. 

Commissioner Tony Kulick questioned whether the police would continue this enforcement during more eventful weekends at CMU, like homecoming. 

Lauria said enforcement levels will continue so a standard of behavior can be set. 

"This is a small step forward to quell behavior," he said. "We will work every day so an expectation and a standard is set for the whole year."

Vice Mayor Rick Rautanen commended Mount Pleasant law enforcement, as well as the surrounding departments, for keeping students safe during Welcome Weekend. 

"Year after year I am amazed by the patience," he said. 

He added that the city isn't trying to stop students from having fun at gatherings that take place in homes.

"We're not asking people to shut (parties) down, we just don't want them in the streets," he said. "We're not trying to limit fun."

Since Welcome Weekend is a tradition at CMU, Lauria said reducing the level of activity is particularly challenging. 

"When you talk about changing tradition, it's a big deal and it's usually very difficult. But we have taken positive steps forward." 

The commission also appointed several members to a city/CMU liaison committee. 

Edward Clayton, a political science professor, David Stairs a professor in the art department and Rick McGuirk, a Mount Pleasant business owner and builder were appointed. 

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