27 students receive alcohol-related citations, five arrested during ‘801 Day’


Students tailgate Saturday morning in the lot of the Haunted Forest in preparation for the Cyclones vs. San Jose Spartans football game. 

Zach Streuber

“801 day” is celebrated by many students as the Saturday before school starts. Some, it seems, celebrated a little too much.

Forty-nine individuals were arrested by the Iowa State University Police Department. There were 127 calls for service between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. that day. According to the records, 27 alcohol violations and five public intoxication cases were recorded by the department. Of those, there were five cases of public intoxication and 44 citations for alcohol violations. 

The Iowa State police define both the public intoxication arrests and the citations as arrests, though those with citations were not taken into custody. 

“The way we typically define arrest is a charge that is different from a traffic violation,” said Anthony Greiter, outreach officer with the Iowa State Police Department. “So an underage possession ticket is considered an arrest, but that person typically doesn’t go in handcuffs and doesn’t go to jail. The difference between that and a public intoxication charge is a public [intoxication] is going to go to jail … They are both simple misdemeanors.”

Greiter said the purpose behind taking public intoxicated individuals to jail is for their safety; many need to be monitored for a period of time until they can take care of themselves, he said. 

The incidents mainly took place between South Sheldon Ave and Ash Ave in Campustown.

Greiter was part of a team that patrolled Campustown Saturday and noted there were many students enjoying the scene.   

“It was busy, but the crowds weren’t unmanageable,” Greiter said. “They were for the most part friendly, cooperative and just out to have a good time.”

Greiter said the crowds seemed smaller and a little more dispersed than last year during the same time.

“There were a lot of people walking around with open alcohol containers, which is not legal on 801 day or any day, so that really drew our attention,” Greiter said. “It surprised me, personally to see people walking around with open beers.”

The Iowa State police arrested 5 individuals for public intoxication and cited 44 for alcohol violations Saturday.  

In 2017, there were five arrests for public intoxication and 11 citations for alcohol violations on the Saturday before the first day of school.

Greiter said the uptick in arrests stems from the new approach the department took this year in addressing illegal behaviors involving alcohol.

“Last year, we followed [the Ames Police Department’s] lead and their lead was essentially ‘let’s do some outreach, let’s do some information gathering and not make tickets or arrests until absolutely necessary,’ and this year we separated from that a little bit and we made arrests and wrote tickets like we normally would,” Greiter said.

Last year was also the first year the Iowa State police used extra staffing on that first weekend. This year, the Iowa State police utilized six additional officers to help during the day, many of which were in vehicles.

In addition to the arrests made by the Iowa State police, there were two arrests made by the Ames Police Department for public intoxication Saturday.

According to records obtained by the Daily, alcohol-related arrests on the first Saturday and Sunday before the fall semester by the Ames Police Department have slowly been declining. In 2014, the number of alcohol-related arrests by the department was 19, compared to the seven made this Saturday and Sunday. OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) arrests were not taken into account, though the number has remained steady at around two individuals arrested during that time period.

However, the number of Iowa State police arrests has changed little. In 2014, there were 11 public intoxication arrests and 11 citations for alcohol violations the Saturday and Sunday before the first day of school. Similarly, there were nine public intoxication arrests and 11 citations for alcohol violations made that weekend in 2017.

For Commander Geoff Huff of the Ames Police Department, the day did not seem too unusual for a weekend.

“We had the extra staffing so we were ready for it, certainly a lot of people out and about, maybe a little too much alcohol especially that early in the day, that tends to lead to those arrests in the evening where it is just too much for too long,” he said.

The Ames department had four bike patrol officers, four foot patrol teams and eight officers that were placed on duty until 2 p.m. Saturday to aid the seven or eight officers scheduled for that day, Huff said.

“The first couple took us by surprise I think it was about three of four years ago that we even noticed 801 happening and it has grown a little bit each year, so it is something new that we manage,” Huff said. “Now that we are aware of it, it is a little easier to plan for because we know what it is going to be.”

However, the extra staffing is not just to bust as many people as possible, Huff said.

“Part of what we were doing on Saturday was going to parties before they got too big and just kind of going through [and saying] ‘hey, these are the kind of things you can do, here are the kind of things we don’t want to do’ and just giving some good advice and education before we start writing a lot of tickets,” Huff said. “Because we really don’t want to write a lot of tickets and make a bunch of arrests, we want to avoid that for everybody so we try to go heavy on the education.”

For the Ames and Iowa State University police departments, effective education can often be difficult to accomplish.

“We are always behind the eight ball in the fall because the students all come back and they start right away, so we don’t have the opportunity to build those relationships,” Huff said.

Their concern was with people drinking an unsafe amount of alcohol, Huff said.

“Our concern is the overconsumption of alcohol, which that’s really the problem that we are dealing with here,” Huff said.  “[Our concern is] that people, especially younger people that don’t have experience, that they go out and drink way too much way too fast and get in really bad situations.”

Huff said educating people is their goal when patrolling.

“We are just trying to get out there to educate people about setting some limits and some boundaries about yourself so you don’t get yourself in trouble,” Huff said.