Ames, ISU police team up for Veishea


Photo: Myra Krieger-Coen/Iowa State Daily

ISU Police hand out free T-shirts to students in return for students saving their non-emergency numbers in their phones. “It’s all in efforts of making VEISHEA safer,” said Sgt. Brad Baker.

Jared Raney

Last year during the weekend of Veishea, Ames police responded to 377 incidents. Of those, 62 arrests were made and 46 citations issued. ISU police reported a total of 157 Veishea-related charges.

Veishea is the largest special event that Ames and ISU police staff each year.

For the police, the biggest issue during Veishea is the flood of visitors coming to Iowa State to participate in the festivities. Hundreds of students from throughout the state and beyond come to Ames each year for Veishea weekend.

On a normal weekend, Ames police has approximately a dozen officers on patrol. During Veishea, it is all-hands-on-deck, with Ames police staffing roughly 40 officers April 19 and April 20, 2013. ISU police does the same.

“We’re pulling in everybody,” said Carrie Jacobs, captain of patrol operations for ISU police. “We’re going to see an influx of an additional 25 to 30 officers per night.”

Jacobs also said officers during Veishea usually work 12-hour shifts.

Ames police budgets approximately $24,000 in addition to their normal spending. The money is spent on extra staffing, rental costs, extra equipment and their spring safety campaign.

For several years Ames police has been using “Frank the Flamingo” as part of their Veishea education program. They give away free T-shirts and other items in hopes that students will know when to quit during Veishea festivities.

This year ISU police started their own campaign, with the slogan “If you see something, say something.”

“Obviously, everybody who is intoxicated is not going to get arrested,” Jacobs said. “We’re looking for those who are presenting a danger to themselves or others, or drawing negative attention to themselves.”

Both police forces are on high alert from 8 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Sunday.

Geoff Huff, investigations commander for Ames police, said that the number of officers is also dependent on the weather.

“If the weather’s not great, we might cut back. We’re pretty conservative when it comes to sending people home; we have to be pretty confident things are drawing to a close,” Huff said.

In the past, additional officers have been called in from neighboring towns such as Huxley and Nevada.

This year Ames and ISU police will team up with the Story County Sheriff’s office and additional state troopers, mostly for prisoner transport.

“The majority are actually not [ISU] students that end up getting arrested. I think a lot of it is people from other communities just deciding to kick it up and have a good time at Veishea — which is great, that’s what we want them to do — but they need to do it in a responsible manner,” Jacobs said.

The percentage of ISU students involved in charges during Veishea has been below 30 percent since 2009, and has never been above 50 percent.

“I’ll see someone walking down the street drinking a beer and when I stop them they’ll say ‘Oh, I’m not from around here.’ And I’ll ask, ‘Can you walk down the street drinking beer where you come from?’” Huff said. “A lot of people think normal rules don’t apply, but they do.”