College partiers, Amherst police back in action over weekend

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Staff Writer
Published: 8/31/2021 5:40:47 PM

AMHERST — Police broke up several loud parties during the first weekend that most college students were in Amherst for the first time since March 2020, but enforcement by officers focused almost exclusively on issuing warnings.

In one of the larger get-togethers, at the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity house on North Pleasant Street at 12:17 a.m. Sunday, officers found dozens of college-age people attending a party with no masks being worn and no effort at social distancing, according to logs supplied by the department. The party was cleared out after about an hour.

On Friday at 11:59 p.m., police put an end to a loud party on Grantwood Drive, and guests were sent on their way from a Harkness Road party at 12:17 a.m. Sunday. Police responded to additional loud parties at 12:38 a.m. Sunday on South Pleasant Street and at 2:09 a.m. Sunday on South East Street.

Early Monday morning, officers responded to a Kellogg Avenue home where a loud stereo was playing with beer cans and bottles strewn outside. Police issued warnings to three tenants, and then more warnings were given to residents for parties at 1:28 a.m. Monday at Kendrick Place Apartments and at 2:13 a.m. Monday on Hitching Post Road.

Police Chief Scott Livingstone said the Police Department is continuing to use an outreach and follow-up approach, where officers visit rentals and speak to tenants, and then return if they have had interaction with police during a party. The idea is to make sure parties don’t get out of control.

“We are currently understaffed so when it comes to large gatherings, we will continue to just monitor them,” Livingstone said.

Much of the department’s work has been proactive, including Sunday afternoon when officers were called to Sunset Avenue, where residents placed a “you honk, we drink” sign on the lawn. They were advised to remove it. At 6:01 p.m. Sunday, officers found North Pleasant Street fraternity members playing beer pong with loud music, and they were told to quiet down.

Warnings also extended to people on public ways with open containers of alcohol, with 19 individuals reminded of the town’s open container bylaw and forced to dump their beverages. Two criminal summons to court were issued, one for a 19-year-old from Randolph, New Jersey for being a minor in possession of alcohol and providing fake names to police, and a 20-year-old Braintree resident for being a minor in possession of alcohol after he provided a fake birth date, which he had also done in October 2020.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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