Local Madison police officers met with leaders in the Greek community Thursday night to respond to concerns about how the Langdon Street area will be policed on May 4, the day of the Mifflin Street Block Party and Revelry.
Madison Police Department Lt. Kelly Donahue reassured the group MPD’s policies have not changed, but their enforcement strategies have changed “to a degree.” She said there will be a no tolerance policy.
She said she hopes this is the start of great communication between the Greek community and the police department.
“If you wake up in the morning knowing something horrible happened in your home the night before…nobody wants that,” she said. “Nobody wants that responsibility.”
MPD Officer Grant Humerickhouse, who is the police officer for the Langdon neighborhood, said city ordinances and state statutes will be enforced on May 4, just like they would be enforced on any other day.
Humerickhouse said police officers cannot enter someone’s residence without their permission, but he encouraged the residents to work with police officers. He said residents will still have to face the penalties for violations of the law, even if they do not allow officers to enter their residence.
“There’s no reason to barricade yourself in your house and blare your music in violation of city ordinance,” Humerickhouse said.
He said he encouraged the Greek community to spend the weekend in a way that would allow him to not write any citations.
Walker Van Dixhorn, a junior at UW studying industrial and systems engineering, is the vice president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He said he was frustrated MPD waited until last week to tell the Greek community how they would be enforcing the rules.
Van Dixhorn said he was concerned about the pro-enforcement and pro-arrest attitude MPD is planning on taking on May 4.
“In previous years, if your party gets out of hand, the police department has been very cooperative where they will come into your party, they will help you clear people out and there will be no citations issued,” he said. “This year, now they’re saying, ‘well if we have to come there then it’s already too late.’ That’s the one thing that’s a little bit troublesome for us.”
He said if the police had told the Greeks even six months ago about the change, they would have been able to plan accordingly. Many fraternities are not planning on having parties on May 4, he said.
He said he wants May 4 to be as safe as possible, but he said he feels sorry for many freshmen who have looked forward to the day, but will now not have much to celebrate.
“There’s too much risk associated with everybody coming in from town and everything else,” Van Dixhorn said. “We don’t want to take on the liability of having all those people [in the fraternity house]. It’s going to be a very kind of subdued atmosphere.”