UPD prepares for increased activity during Dakota Days
5 mins read

UPD prepares for increased activity during Dakota Days

With Dakota Days approaching next week, the University Police Department is preparing for the big weekend.

Lieutenant Jef Rice said D-Days weekend is something the department plans for all year.

“Its one of those deals, it is a very big event here. Just like Move-In Day is and it isn’t something like, ‘oh we’re two weeks out, we better start thinking about D-Days,” he said. “We started thinking about D-Days right after last D-Days.”

When it comes to planning the weekend, Rice said the department looks at multiple factors such as who the football team plays and when peak activity hours will be.

“One year, Hobo Days (South Dakota State University’s homecoming) and D-Days were at the same time so it really cut down on the activity here because obviously those students come down here for ours and our students go up there for theirs,” Rice said. “So we do get a lot of outside students and outside fans and spectators, family, friends, that come in. So, we do have to be cognizant that that’s going to happen. It grows our campus and along with that, people that celebrate for lack of a better word. So were making sure everyone is safe.”

Rice said with D-Days landing on a three-day weekend, the department can’t just assume that people will leave after the game.

“We have to make sure that we’re staffed and have the safety of the students and the campus community first and foremost,” Rice said. “So, we’re not going to change the way we staff just because it’s a three-day weekend.”

Once peak hours are predicted Rice said officers are assigned shifts.

“During D-Days we staff up, we bring in more of our officers. That’s a weekend that nobody gets off so we have officers on campus,” he said. “We have them on foot patrol, on bike patrol, car patrol — we will patrol the residence halls a little bit more. Not trying to bust anybody but for safety reasons. We want to keep on top of that, not follow it up.”

The main goal of UPD during the weekend is safety, Rice said.

“We’ll say these are our goals: safety, security, make sure anyone that needs medical attention is getting it as quickly as possible,” he said. “Make sure that any incidents are taken care of as quick as possible in a manor that’s beneficial to everybody. Sometimes, maybe, we would look at different situations and say, OK, it’s D-Days, but we still need to be cognizant that we want to treat the students fair but we want to make sure everybody’s safe, too.”

While all forms of law enforcement increase patrols during D-Days, Rice said UPD mostly operates on their own unless backup is needed.

“VPD has their own thing going on. They’ve got their own issues and situations downtown and house parties and all that,” he said. “When they need help, we’re certainly there and when we need help they’ll certainly show up — it all depends on what the situations are. There’s other law enforcement that shows up and patrols around. Highway patrol is normally around and Clay County Sheriffs Office. They have their own (operation) plans.”

D-Days may seem like a stressful weekend for law enforcement, but Rice said most officers look forward to the weekend.

“D-Days is homecoming and it’s a time to celebrate and our officers understand that,” he said. “I look forward to D-Days and I think they do, too, because there’s a lot more going on and we can interact with students a little bit more.”

Sophie Porter, a sophomore, said she thinks it’s good that UPD increases their presence over the busy weekend.

“I get it, ’cause there’s so many people that come up but we’re not all drunken kids,” she said. “I’ve never really interacted with them (UPD), just while you’re leaving tailgate you’ll have cops look at you, but if you don’t talk to them, you’re fine.”

Junior Shilo Lemmon also said she that UPD has to be around more frequently during D-Days.

“It’s okay that other people come up and there can be some situations with alcohol that are very scary. Freshmen haven’t experienced this before so they don’t always get it,” Lemmon said. “When I was a freshman, I saw a bike cop tackle someone in the bushes and that stuck with me. I was like, obviously this is serious.”

Lemmon said students could be more responsible during D-Days, as well.

“As students, we could do a better job of being smart and prepared and making sure we know our limits and have a sober buddy or driver,” she said.

Rice said it’s good for students to know their limits and not be afraid to call for help.

“Our first and foremost concern is going to be to get the individual the help they need,” he said. “I want everybody to have a good time but I want them to have a good time safely.”