Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Back In Civility

 Saturday 11:50 PM APD and AFD @ 647 Main Street for large party and passed out drunk individual

For most of us the extra hour afforded by the demise of daylight savings time provided an opportunity for something too often short in supply:  sleep.  But for that tiny minority of college aged youth who tarnish the reputations of the overwhelming majority, it was an excuse to party even hardier.

Amherst police ricochet all over town trying to quell noisy parties -- especially during those "Bewitching Hours" just before and after midnight.  At peak times responses to calls for service were delayed by as much as an hour.

Yes Dispatch knows how to prioritize response in a life-or-death situation, shifting officers from a routine noise complaint to the more serious call.  But occasionally a deadly serious calls starts out routine, and the prompt presence of a police officer would prevent it from breaking bad.

Late Saturday into early Sunday was noticeably worse than late Friday into early Saturday, which alone was bad enough.   In all, police busted four large party houses with arrests but made numerous calls to other party houses all around town that resulted in warnings.

The party at 338 Pine Street only generated one arrest -- as the young ladies in charge were very cooperative -- but it was a doozy.  Jay Patel, age 20, was  -- to say the least -- uncooperative.  He was arrested around midnight for Assault and Battery on a police officer, Resisting Arrest, Disorder Conduct, and Minor in possession of alcohol.

In Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday morning a not guilty plea was entered in his behalf and his case was continued to December 18.  What a Merry Christmas his family is going to have.

219 E. Pleasant Street

219 E Pleasant Street, a usual suspect house, also only had one arrest for noise/nuisance and one summons for underage possession of alcohol, generating $600 in fines.  

The four residents of 96 Bridge Street were somewhat more cooperative even if the party was "large and loud," so they were only arrested for noise violations, generating $1,200 in fines.

320 North Pleasant Street

The 2-family house (legally holding 8 tenants) at 320 North Pleasant Street, owned by Joel Greenbaum, tied for most arrests at one location, six, with the house at 240 Northampton Road Friday night that also had six arrested.  Although according to assessor records only 4 tenants should be legally living there.

And since each of the houses went above and beyond the call for partying, all 12 perps were charged  for both Noise and Nuisance violations.  Although as is his routine Judge John Payne Jr. only enforced the $300 fine on the Noise complaint, thus forfeiting $3,600 in fine revenue.

But it's still a good thing for APD to use the Nuisance House bylaw as the Judge does find them "responsible" and files the charge, bringing with it a four month probation.  While that may not quite bring them to the end of the semester I'm sure the DA's office would take note if they repeat the same offense anytime over the next year.  

All of the students appeared contrite in Court, were all well dressed, and many had parents in tow.  In fact the attorney for the boys at 240 Northampton Road told the Judge his clients had been "read the riot act" by their parents and had written a letter of apology to APD.

Two of the Party Houses that generated arrests on Saturday night are owned by Joel Greenbaum so hopefully he will take note.  If not, on the third offense (per house) Mr. Greenbaum will be hit with a $300 fine.  

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