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Police Chief Calls Block Party ‘Passive’

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Costumed partygoers looking for a good time descended on Court Street in Athens on Saturday for the annual Halloween party sponsored by the city and the Athens Clean and Beautiful Committee.

Revelers covered the bricks from the stage at the north end of the street at the Union Street intersection to the stage at the State Street intersection at the opposite end of town.

The weather proved to be less than stellar for the celebration this year, but failed to deter the music, food trucks, doomsday preachers and partygoers from taking over the town for the night.

The City of Athens Police Department arrested and jailed 49 individuals between 3 p.m. on Oct. 27 and 3 a.m. on Oct. 28, according to a media release from the Athens County Public Information Officers Network. The total Halloween-related arrests for the APD totaled 52 after a secondary count, according to Athens City Chief of Police Tom Pyle. The major outliers included 24 incidents of disorderly conduct by intoxication and 18 cases of underage intoxication.

Pyle estimated APD arrested around 25 more individuals and released the offenders on site. Pyle added that the Ohio University Police Department made several arrests in addition to nearly 100 arrests made by the Ohio Investigative Unit. Pyle believed all police units arrested slightly over 200 people in total.

At the block party last year, the Athens Police and Ohio University Police Departments handled 109 calls for service during the hours of 7:00 p.m. Saturday and 3:00 a.m. Sunday. Police arrested and processed 50 people, sending 43 of those arrested to the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

The party kicked into high gear after the Ohio University Bobcats football game ended around 6:00 p.m. in devastating fashion following their loss to Miami University. The number of people continued to increase after the Ohio State University Buckeyes game ended around 8:30 p.m.

Pyle noted an increase in the number of assaults compared to past Halloween parties, the only outstanding statistic of the night.

“We usually have at least one really interesting story,” said Pyle. “But nothing too crazy happened this year.”

The night continued in a fashion that has become fairly typical for Halloween in Athens in recent years. Pyle believed the party to be a more passive, festival-like atmosphere than previous years.

“(Halloween) has become more self-regulating because of the effectiveness of sanctions and the police presence,” said Pyle. “People are not coming here to cause trouble.”

Better planning and execution contributed to the lack of major incidences. The city helps set up, tear down and regulate the party. The different regulations help participants and officials alike.

“We were very good in police in city planning,” said Pyle. “It is different each year, and it is not just a police issue – there are EMS and fire responses.  Everything went really smoothly.”

Other charges against those arrested include obstructing official business, underage consumption, public urination, resisting arrest, assault, arrest on warrant, false identification and possession of marijuana.

The party began to die after the closing announcements at 1:30 a.m. and crews worked into the early hours of the morning to clean up the city before sunrise. Volunteers assembled the following afternoon to finish the job and removed all traces of HallOUween 2012.

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