Police gear up for Northgate crowd near Texas A&M
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 00:08
As Northgate anticipates the return of student crowds, police prepare for Northgate to come
Thursday nights in Aggieland mark the beginning of the weekend, and Master Officer Rhonda Seaton of the College Station Police Department said that officers are prepared to ensure the safety of all patrons.
“The goal that officers have when they’re on patrol is for everyone to enjoy themselves safely,” Seaton said.
The thing Northgate is most known for is also the thing that creates the most issues, Seaton said.
“Whenever people drink they tend to do things differently than they normally do, and that’s just a byproduct of too much alcohol; you don’t make good decisions,” Seaton said. “Whenever you get drunk, the decision-making part of your brain shuts down.”
Seaton said police maintain a large presence in order to ensure the safety of anyone who visits Northgate.
“You can expect them to be there,” Seaton said. “I can guarantee we are going to have officers working on foot and on bicycles and in patrol cars.”
CSPD will not be the only police presence on Northgate. Lt. Allan Baron of the University Police Department said UPD assists CSPD in enforcing alcohol regulations.
“The College Station Police and University Police maintain a mutual assistance agreement and have an excellent working relationship,” Baron said. “For several years, University Police have included the Northgate area as one of our patrol districts.”
One of the reasons for this is Northgate’s popularity with students, Baron said.
“This allows us to provide extra coverage to an area where many of our students reside and frequent on the weekends,” Baron said. “It also allows us to provide assistance to the College Station Police during peak activities.”
Students can expect heavy fines and even face arrest for alcohol-related offenses. Some offenses, like public intoxication, can result in a fine of $500. Any previous convictions for public intoxication can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
“If a student is in violation of an alcohol law, they should expect to be issued a citation or be arrested,” Baron said. “Students cited or arrested for an alcohol violation by the University Police are subject to disciplinary action from the University’s Conflict Resolution Services with the Offices of the Dean of Student Life.”
Students can also get in trouble for lying to police officers when asked for identification or their age, something Baron said students should not do.
“Students should be truthful when providing their personal information,” Baron said. “Failing to do so can have consequences.”
Baron said consequences include up to a year in jail and a fine up to $4,000 for possessing or displaying a fictitious or altered driver’s license to a police officer. A student can spend up to 180 days in jail and be fined up to $2,000 for providing a police officer with a fake name, date of birth or address.
Aside from fines, both Seaton and Baron said the goal of all students visiting Northgate is to be safe. Seaton said students should avoid dangerous situations.
“If students find themselves in a situation where someone is threatening them or being aggressive towards them, they should remove themselves,” Seaton said. “Don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re walking down the street by yourself late at night.”
Baron said students should be aware of and utilize services provided by other students.
“Be aware of your surroundings,” Baron said. “Look to see who’s in front of you and behind you and trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, simply leave. Utilize CARPOOL. It is important to remember that you do not have to be intoxicated to utilize this service.”