Oct 312012


The Daily Reflector

Quanisha Brown, left, and Shawnte’ Davis search for a costume at the Halloween Express at the Greenville Mall on Tuesday afternoon. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

By Jane Dail

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

As thousands prepare for Halloween in downtown Greenville tonight, East Carolina University is planning bus services, alternative celebrations and a strong police presence to keep students safe and entertained.

Lt. Chris Sutton with ECU police said about 45 officers will work on and off campus tonight, estimating that 8,000-12,000 people will be on campus and downtown.

“It will be a large crowd,” Sutton said. “We probably won’t see as many visitors coming into the city of Greenville as we would see on a Friday or Saturday night, but we will see most of the student body. I would expect ECU, probably Pitt Community College and local people that may not have to go into work at an early time on Thursday. I think we’ll still have a large crowd.”

In addition to working with Greenville police and officers from other agencies downtown, Sutton said the ECU department will beef up its campus presence on foot, bicycles, in ATVs and patrol cars.

Sutton unveiled the new technology the department will begin using tonight, including four small video cameras that can be worn on glasses, around an officer’s neck and on uniforms.

“These will help us document the interactions we have. … We’re excited to start using these Halloween night. We’ll also use them at football games and other events.”

Officers can start and stop recording with the push of a button. Sutton said the cameras are “great quality” that work well in low light.

Officers with the new equipment will be patrolling near Mendenhall Student Center, the Student Recreation Center, parking lots and other high-traffic areas around campus.

Sutton said common issues police face on Halloween night include alcohol violations, abusing controlled substances, fights, assaults and sexual assaults.

“It’s important that our students don’t put themselves in a situation they don’t want to be in,” Sutton said. “If they consumed too much alcohol or (used) a controlled substance that will impair their judgement, then that will put them in a situation where they will not find an out.”

The university will provide bus service to help keep students safe and keep impaired drivers off the roads, officials said. The buses will run the same routes as the Pirate Express does Thursday through Saturday to student apartment complexes, with drop-off at Mendenhall Student Center.

Bobby Woodard, ECU associate vice chancellor of student involvement and leadership, said automated access to residence halls will be shut off starting at 3 p.m. today to 10 a.m. Thursday. Students will check in through the front desk area of residence halls.

The university also will host a free Halloween event from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. called Midnight Madness on campus. The alcohol-free celebration will include laser tag, horror movies, bowling, billiards, bingo, a buffet, a dance and opportunities for prizes.

“It is … an alternative to downtown mainly for our students who are under the legal drinking age of 21, a place for them to come out and enjoy Halloween costumes and so forth with their friends,” Woodard said.

The event is restricted to students with valid ECU 1 cards and guests registered before the event at ecu.edu/halloweek.

“This has been a great success for us … providing something safe for our students,” Woodard said. “The biggest thing is we just provide an opportunity for our students to enjoy an evening of fun and then, hopefully, a short trip back to their residence hall.”

Contact Jane Dail at jdail@reflector.com or 252-329-9585.

via The Daily Reflector.


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