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New TPD program aimed at controlling U of A off-campus parties

Posted at 6:16 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 21:23:01-04

As the University of Arizona students are gearing up for a new school year -- university neighborhood residents are gearing up to deal with off-campus "unruly gatherings."

"Unruly gathering," is another way to say party. It includes underage drinking, loud noise, people crowding into the street -- what one might expect from an off-campus college party, according to Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik.

The Tucson Police Department is testing out a pilot program this September to combat these issues. For the first time, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday nights, a Tucson Police Officer will be assigned a neighborhood near the university. That officer will respond directly to any complaints about an unruly gathering, and then will shut it down.

"That phone call, now, for an unruly gathering, will go straight to that officer," Kozachik said. "And he's going to roll right to the party and break it up.

Some of the neighborhoods include Rincon Heights, Sam Hughes, and West University.

Kozachik and a local Rincon Heights resident understand that a lot of students like to party. They're okay with that -- they don't want to stop all parties. However what they don't want are these unruly gatherings to get out of hand in residential neighborhoods."

Mark Homan, who's lived in Rincon Heights for 40 years, really appreciates having students live in his neighborhood. However, he doesn't appreciate it when they don't respect the way he likes to live.

"Your right to extend your arm, kind of stops at the point of my nose, you know what I mean?" he said. "So that, when people's behavior intrudes upon other people's rights, well then, you know, that should be stopped."

He believes the Red Tag program has been very effective in his neighborhood, and is glad to see that more TPD officers will be getting involved. That being said, Homan feels that most of the students contribute to the community in positive ways.

"It has been a major benefit to our community so that the families who live here are able to enjoy some peace and quiet, and people can still have a good time," he said.

Houses that are given a red tag citation will face a $500 fine for the first offense, plus a 180 day waiting period. If they receive another citation, they'll face a $750 fine. A third one gets the house a $1000 fine.