DeKalb Police using extra enforcement to patrol parties


Northern Star File Photo Illustration

By Dave Gong

The DeKalb Police Department uses officers on extra-enforcement detail in order to patrol parties in DeKalb, said DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen.

Feithen said the police tend to put greater emphasis on policing large parties and open container laws during times of nice weather like the spring and beginning of the fall semester.

Feithen said officers on an extra-enforcement detail come in on overtime so they do not take away from regular patrols. According to police reports, some of these officers may patrol in unmarked vehicles.

“It is a way for us to monitor things and keep things under control,” Feithen said.

Feithen said officers may answer complaints about loud parties and may stop if they see open alcohol containers or developing parties, but police do not necessarily follow a specific procedure for monitoring parties.

NIU Police Sgt. Alan Smith said the NIU Police Department tries to take a proactive approach when dealing with on-campus parties.

Smith said NIU Police mainly deal with parties within the residence halls, but may assist the DeKalb Police Department with off-campus parties if requested.

“During patrols [in the residence halls], the officer may see a party atmosphere and respond,” Smith said. “If it is off-campus, DeKalb Police may ask us for assistance, but it is not our first response to go up and knock on the door.”

Smith said NIU Police on patrol may interact with people who appear to be drunk or stumbling or have open alcohol.

“We stop and talk to everybody,” Smith said. “It goes a long way in community relations and community policing.”

The DeKalb Police Department website states the police will generally issue a warning for loud parties except in extraordinary circumstances or if the offense continues after a warning has been issued.

“We would rather warn someone rather than arrest them,” Feithen said.

Senior finance major Andrew Holmblad said he would be against the idea of a dedicated police “party patrol.”

“If their goal is to bust up the parties they find, then I’d be against their proactive approach to keeping the peace,” Holmblad said. “College is a place to both learn and party. Breaking up parties for little to no reason is wrong.”

Dave Anians, junior community leadership and civic engagement major, said a party patrol might make students feel paranoid about partying in DeKalb.

“I can see the reasons behind it, but the police should make students feel safe, not paranoid,” Anians said.

Smith said the intention of NIU Police is not to discourage students from having fun.

“We want students to have fun,” Smith said. “We just want them to do so within the rules and regulations of the university and the state of Illinois.”