The University of Wisconsin Police Department and the Madison Police Department each voiced their support for a student organized event at Union South held the same day as the traditional Mifflin Street Block Party.
MPD spokesperson Joel DeSpain said MPD Chief Noble Wray supports ending the block party as it has been for the last several decades. He said Wray is interested in either ending Mifflin completely or changing the venue so the event is not alcohol-fixated.
“We don’t want to see that party take place again this year,” DeSpain said. “We’re hoping there is an alternative party.”
DeSpain said he is not sure there will be a Mifflin Street Block Party and he hopes there is not a party. He said Wray has said on record he does not want to see the event take place again.
Wray wants to see it cease altogether or move to a safer venue where people can gather and participate in activities that do not revolve around alcohol, DeSpain said.
UWPD Sgt. Aaron Chapin said UWPD would police an alternate Mifflin party by assessing what the security need is for the event, and staff it based on how many people are expected to attend. He said attendance is estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 people.
Chapin said if MPD needed UWPD’s assistance at the original Mifflin event, they would contact UWPD and request aid. He said if the request is made, UWPD would evaluate what is needed, what resources they have available and how they could be best utilized at the event.
Chapin said UWPD will staff the alternative event for the safety of the community.
The safety message Chapin said he has for the block party is very similar to the safety message for any event.
“We want to make sure students are using good personal safety measures,” Chapin said. “[It is important] to practice personal protective measures throughout events.”
He said these safety measures include staying in groups of friends and checking in with friends and family members on a regular basis.
Chapin warned against people under the age of 21 consuming alcohol. He said if someone is 21 years old or older, he or she should do so in moderation and make sure they are taking care of themselves.
He said UWPD frequently sees over-consumption of intoxicants and people who need to be transported to the emergency room and detoxification for over-consumption of alcohol.
Mifflin differs from many other events held in Madison because it is a daytime event, Chapin said. He said he encourages Mifflin attendees to follow same safety protocols throughout the day, but safety becomes even more important as it gets closer to nighttime.
Chapin said criminal activity usually happens later on in the day or evening.
Wray has said the Mifflin Street Block Party has become very different in recent years, and often has encouraged an event with less ties to alcohol.