leaders lauded police and his staff on Monday for making UConn’s annual - and typically raucous - a fairly quiet and virtually nonexistent event this year.
In turn, Cournoyer, who coordinates the resident state trooper’s office in Mansfield, credited students for heeding the repeated warnings issued by state police, landlords and university officials who said the wild partying that has marked previous Spring Weekends would not be tolerated this year.
“All we asked the kids for was reasonableness and they listened. They’re smart and they’re really good kids and they really just wanted to do the right thing,” Cournoyer told the during its meeting Monday night.
Local officials called this year’s Spring Weekend, which was held during the third weekend in April, “nonexistent,” because police reported generally quiet conditions at the end of the three-day event that takes place largely at off-campus housing projects. Only six arrests were made by the end of the weekend, down from 17 arrests that were made in 2011. Even the 2011 Spring Weekend was generally regarded as quieter than previous years’ weekends, when numerous arrests were made and police typically had to break up rowdy and sometimes violent parties.
Cournoyer said planning for this year’s Spring Weekend began months earlier and included meetings between the resident trooper’s office, local officials, campus police, university officials and students.
The basic message at those meetings, Cournoyer said, was that state police intended to significantly step up enforcement efforts this year, would set up check points to question those coming into town and would not tolerate the kind of partying that has gone on in previous years.
After officials had questioned whether the weekend was tamer than normal because of stepped-up enforcement efforts or because it rained for most of the weekend and it took place over the Easter holiday.
The outcome of this year’s weekend, Cournoyer said, indicates that more stringent enforcement is largely responsible for helping to keep the partying to a minimum. There was no rain and no holiday this year, he said.
Councilors also credited Cournoyer for taking such proactive measures this year to limit the parties, including meeting directly with students.
With some students, said Mayor Elizabeth C. Paterson, Cournoyer handed out business cards and urged them to call him if a party they were intending on hosting got out of hand and they needed help.
“I think that speaks a lot about you taking this serious and I wanted to give you credit for that,” she said.
Cournoyer said he’s already begun planning strategies for dealing with next year’s Spring Weekend. He’s asked the university for permission to meet with parents and incoming students during orientation events this August to warn them about how serious police are now taking Spring Weekend.
“I want to set the expectations from Day 1. My message is to let them know that we have two police departments in close proximity.”