By Cortni Moore
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
EAST LANSING — The East Lansing Police Captain, MSU Police Sergeant and the East Lansing Fire Marshal can all relate when it comes to the amount of calls they get and problems that arise on game days involving the consumption of alcohol.
With six games left of the Spartan football season, three of them being home games including homecoming, public safety officials give tips on how to enjoy game day while staying out of trouble.
1. During the game – Although alcohol isn’t allowed in the stadium, many fans tailgate prior to the game. MSU and East Lansing provide police officers inside of the stadium along with seven first aiders from the East Lansing Fire Department. Monitoring the crowd, East Lansing police officials are usually at entryways making sure “ . . . people aren’t too rowdy or too drunk,” Capt. Kim Johnson, East Lansing Police Department said.
MSU police places “green coat” officers at the entrance to check for contraband before the game, in the student section to monitor the crowd and near the top to watch for tampering and breaking-in of vehicles in the parking lot. If members of the crowd notice smoking, drinking or other illegal activities, they can find a officer in the stadium or “They can text us on our new system,” MSU Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said referring to the See Something Say Something program.
2. Parties – East Lansing police will break up house parties that have crowds spilling into the streets disrupting traffic or into the neighbor’s yard because it becomes a nuisance to the public. “You can throw parties, just not disruptive ones,” Johnson said. If you host a party, police ask you to keep the noise and crowd down unless you want police to come to the party.
3. Travel in groups– McGlothian-Taylor said that, when partying, to “travel in groups. There’s safety in numbers, there really is.” Both police officials recommend traveling in groups and looking out for each other to ensure. “When you haven’t been drinking, it’s less likely for you to be wandering around alone, potentially becoming a victim of other crimes,” Johnson said.
4. Underage drinking – “From a police perspective, if you’re not 21, you shouldn’t be drinking,” Johnson said. If people look underage and they’re drinking or appear to be drunk, the police can ask for identification. Stumbling, laying and walking in the street, public urination, fighting, yelling, and running away when the police arrive at house parties are some of the things that raise the attention of the police to underage drinking.
“Alcohol use makes people, especially guys, do stupid things, so the chances for risky behavior are greater,” Bob Pratt, East Lansing fire marshal said while naming the first of common factors that he finds are “usually parallel with what happens on football Saturdays.”
5. False alarms – The Fire Department responded to about 150 calls between Friday and Saturday evening on the weekend of the University of Michigan game.
Pratt said that their response time is about 3-5 minutes but during high-traffic volumes it could be longer and resetting false alarms could take minutes but house fires could take hours to deal with. He said there were times throughout the U of M game day when call volumes were so high they didn’t have an ambulance or truck to respond to some calls. “False alarms . . . the pulling of the fire alarm happens way too frequently. It creates a culture of people not responding appropriately,” said Fire Marshal Pratt. “Respond as if it’s a real fire each time.”
6. Have fun– McGlothian-Taylor said, “Have fun, celebrate responsibly and in the local establishments.”