Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins have teamed up to launch an innovative program that could lessen the number of noise complaints this spring.
The Party Warning Program will encourage CSU students who live off campus to register their party and possibly avoid fines. The pilot program, which came about after numerous requests for a formal warning system, was developed by CSU/City Community Liaison and officers from Fort Collins Police Services who began working together to design the party registration project.
Here’s how the programs works: From April 13th through May 16th, CSU students will be able to register their Friday or Saturday night parties at CSU’s Off-Campus Student Services located in the Lory Student Center. Should a noise complaint be received by Fort Collins Police Services, the registered party host will be contacted by phone and will be given a "verbal" warning to breakup their party in a 20-minute time frame. If a second noise complaint is received after the 20-minute period, the police will send an officer to the residence to deal with the noise. If an officer is required to make personal contact with a registered party home, then fines may likely be higher since the situation was not corrected with the warning. The warning process is related to noise complaints only. Once an address receives a warning, they will not be able to register another party at that address during the pilot phase.
"There are students in our community who would like to take every step possible to prevent them from getting a noise ticket," said Melissa Emerson, community liaison for Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins. "Should a complaint be received, this service will allow the student to break up their party quickly and on their own without a visit from the police. Ideally, students will be hosting responsible parties in which no noise complaint is received by the police department but should it happen, this is an extra precaution the party host can take to avoid an expensive ticket."
A noise complaint can result in a fine of up to $1,000. A noise violation constitutes a criminal misdemeanor.
"By giving students the opportunity to break up their party on their own, students will hopefully avoid a noise ticket," said Fort Collins Police Services Officer Scott Crumbaker.
In 2007, there were 3,327 dispatched calls for noise complaints. Excessive noise remains the second largest citizen complaint in Fort Collins, next to traffic.
If the pilot project is a success, Emerson said there are some of tangible benefits:
– Reduce the time in which a party is broken up as neighbors will not have to wait for the police to arrive.
– Save money in Fort Collins and CSU Police Departments officer overtime during the Party Patrol calls.
– Decrease congestion in the municipal courts.
– With each registration, the student will be given educational materials on partying safely and responsibly; these students may avoid a noise ticket simply because they became a more "informed" party host by stopping in at Off-Campus Student Services.
– Lessen the number of officers responding to noise complaints, resulting in less wear and tear on police vehicles driving across town, savings in fuel, and reduction in pollution.
– Save party hosts money, a criminal record and possibly avoid administrative sanctions held by CSU.
Registration is currently underway at the Off-Campus Student Services office. Hosts can register their parties for April 17 and April 18 by 5 p.m. April 17 to be eligible. Registrants only have to provide their first name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
An assessment will be conducted after the completion of the pilot project to determine its effectiveness and impact on both students and long-term residents.
For more information, contact Melissa Emerson at (970) 491-6707 or Melissa.Emerson@colostate.edu, or visit the Office of Off-Campus Student Services at http://www.ocssral.colostate.edu/