Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector
By Jane Dail
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Nice weather is expected to be a treat for Halloween revelers tonight, and police will be out in force to watch out for tricks.
In addition to celebration of the door-to-door variety expected to take place in neighborhoods throughout the Greenville area, thousands of are expected to head downtown to party on Fifth Street tonight.
Cold weather scared away many people last year, officials said, but 4,000-6,000 are expected to visit tonight with dry conditions and temperatures in the 60s.
“We’re prepared for good weather and good crowds of kids across the city,” Greenville Police Department Sgt. Joe Friday said. “We’re working the best we can to be prepared for that-officers to all areas.”
Greenville police partner with officers from other agencies to control access and monitor the crowd downtown.
The department sections off a four-block area around the intersection of Cotanche and Fifth Street barring vehicles and searching people as the enter.
Officers will be looking for alcohol and drugs, Friday said. They will not allow animals, weapons or any items that can be used as a weapon, including baseball bats, golf clubs, chains and costume weapons.
Police will set up a mobile command center in the Five Points parking lot, where medical services will be available.
Law enforcement also will be conducting a DWI checkpoint at an undisclosed location in Pitt County as part of this week’s Booze It and Lose It campaign.
State Highway Patrol Trooper Doug Coley said he expects impaired drivers to be on the road, including people heading to and leaving downtown. He encouraged anyone planning to drink to arrange a designated driver.
Coley said the patrol and other agencies work together to host the checkpoint, which yields many DWI charges every year.
“Anybody that’s lived in this area that’s gone downtown is familiar we have those checkpoints,” he said. “We still get impaired drivers.”
East Carolina University students looking for an alternative to downtown can attend Midnight Madness between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. at the north end of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium underneath the bleachers.
ECU Student Activities and Organizations Director Emily McLamb said this year marks the 20th Midnight Madness event, which had been held at Mendenhall Student Center and the Student Recreation Center.
“Seeing how it’s the 20th year, we thought it would be a great opportunity to try something new,” she said. “Our students love our football stadium, so we though this would be a great opportunity to try this out.”
The smoke-free and alcohol-free event is open only to ECU students, who can each bring a guest if they register them online.
McLamb said ECU police will set up light towers around the facility and at street corners near the stadium so students feel safe.
ECU Police Lt. Chris Sutton said about 30 officers from the department will be working at the event and in and around campus, including downtown.
He said many of the same rules for downtown apply for Midnight Madness, including no alcohol. He said bookbags will not be allowed on ECU transit buses and will be subject to search.
Sutton also said dogs will sweep of the stadium and other areas on campus. “There will be a lot of people spread out to make sure it’s a safe environment,” he said.
Law enforcement officers also will be patrolling residential area to keep trick-or-treaters safe, Friday said.
The city has an 11 p.m. curfew for those younger than 16, which also applies on Halloween, he said.
Coley encouraged parents to accompany trick-or-treaters, use flashlights and be alert while walking along roads.
Pedestrians should avoid crossing roadways except in designated areas and stay on the same side of the road, he said.
Contact Jane Dail at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9585.
via The Daily Reflector.