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Oxford police talk about their public drunk arrests

Oxford’s police are trying to get the message out that if you are out partying and then walking instead of driving home, there are good odds you will get home instead of winding up in jail.

It’s the partiers who decide to urinate on a building, carry their beer home with them, destroy a flower bed at a house on the way home, fight with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or stumble into oncoming traffic who will meet a member of the Oxford Police Department, said Chief Joey East.

Over the weekend, which was the first home football game for the University of Mississippi, OPD made 30 public drunk arrests.

East said that number doesn’t even come close to the thousands who were in town for the game and the 1,000 who were bar-hopping on the Square each weekend night.

“Everybody thinks if you walk home you’ll get picked up, but you have to stand out from other people. You have to bring attention to yourself,” he said. “For us, with public drunk, our biggest thing is people say ‘people are just walking home and they don’t want you driving or doing this, and now they’re just following these kids home and picking them up.’ But 30 in three days is really not a lot.”

Oxford’s police run an overtime detail to get a law enforcement presence out on the Square on weekends and to work traffic and safety during game weekends, and they will stop someone if they see an open container or someone staggering.

“There really are a lot of young people and older people out there who are trying to do it right,” East said. “I’ve always said that 98 percent of these young people, I think, are doing it right. We say there’s 2 percent of the people who are getting into trouble. It’s the 2 percent who are causing problems, whether they urinate in people’s yards or go to the wrong house.”

Maj. Jeff McCutchen said a couple years ago one resident who lived near the Square was cooking in her kitchen around 7 p.m. and returned to the living room to find a strange drunk man watching “SpongeBob” with her 6-year-old on television.

He said it is that type of incident OPD is watching to try to prevent.

“We want to identify the ones who are causing the issues but we want people to understand we are not targeting anyone,” McCutchen said. “These are bigger incidents than what they realize in that if we don’t address the ones who are causing the issues they are going to ease out into your community, into your neighborhood, and you’re going to have issues there, so we can try to deal with them on the Square and hope it prevents things from happening outside the Square.”

Even while on the Square, McCutchen said police, “are not hunting for things to do. We want everybody to have a good time and go home.”

This weekend will be the fourth big weekend on the Square since the summer, and McCutchen said there are a lot of things people partying are doing that are preventable, like not taking your beer bottle outside of the bar or not running from police when they tell you to stop.

“They almost just cause you to have to deal with them,” McCutchen said.

But the past few weeks when police have dealt with open container violations or runners, they have found felony amounts of drugs, weapons and many fake IDs, so McCutchen said for the safety of everyone they will continue their details, because if you don’t stop the drunk person staggering in the road, or trying to get into the wrong home, he or she could get killed.

But they do keep in mind the 98 percent.

“The vast majority are up there trying to do the right thing,” East said.

On patrol with the police

A look at a weekend on patrol with the OPD in the Square from Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6 a.m. through Sunday, Sept. 6 at 6 a.m.

30 public drunk arrests

Sept. 3, 10:30 p.m. – under 21 – Passed out on bench

Sept. 3, 11:39 p.m. – under 21 – Took food and then did not pay for it

Sept. 4, 12:33 a.m. – under 21 – Had an open container, gave false information to police, had cocaine

Sept. 4, 12:43 a.m. – over 21 – Climbed on the roof of a bank

Sept. 4, 12:34 a.m. – over 21 – Urinated in the parking lot of a restaurant

Sept. 4, 12:52 a.m. – under 21 – Stumbling and falling in the road, fake ID

Sept. 4, 1:07 a.m. – over 21 – Urinating on a bank

Sept. 4, 1:38 a.m. – under 21 – Stumbling in traffic

Sept. 4, 1:57 a.m. – over 21 – Sitting in a parked car, about about to drive off

Sept. 5, 12:17 a.m. – under 21 – Interfering with vandalism investigation

Sept. 5, 12:17 a.m. – under 21 – Leaning against a vehicle (not his) that had been damaged

Sept. 5, 12:17 a.m. – over 21 – Interfering with vandalism investigation

Sept. 5, 12:30 a.m. – under 21 – Stole purse from a bar

Sept. 5, 1:22 a.m. – over 21 – Urinating in public

Sept. 5, 1:26 a.m. – over 21 – Urinating on a car (not his)

Sept. 5, 1:01 a.m. – over 21 – Urinating on a church

Sept. 5, 3:25 p.m. – under 21 – Having an open container and running from the police

Sept. 5, 3:49 p.m. – over 21 – Stumbling on Highway 6 in traffic

Sept. 5, 9:29 p.m. – over 21 – Stumbling in parking lot and couldn’t tell where he lived. Very incoherent.

Sept. 5, 9:37 p.m. – over 21 – Stumbling by the jail and couldn’t tell where he lived

Sept. 5, 9:48 p.m. – over 21 – Open container, then threw the beer can when approached

Sept. 5, 11:08 p.m. – over 21 – Open container and stumbling on Jackson Avenue

Sept. 5, 11:59 p.m. – over 21 – Tried to put in a taxi, but kept falling down

Sept. 5, 11:58 p.m. – under 21 – Was being held up by a street sign

Sept. 6, 12:15 a.m. – over 21 – Harassing a woman and cussed the cop when told to leave her alone

Sept. 6, 12:50 a.m. – over 21 – Stumbling around in a parking lot

Sept. 6, 1:13 a.m. – over 21 – Found inside a closed business

Sept. 6, 1:40 a.m. – under 21 – Interfered with EMS assist, fake ID and failing to comply

Sept. 6, 1:40 a.m – over 21 – Interfered with EMS assist, failing to comply

Sept. 6, 1:40 a.m. – over 21 – Passed out in restaurant