With the introduction of the new party registration forms, a symbiotic bond is forming between students and the Keene Police Department; both are working successfully to keep parties safe and under control.
According to the new KPD liaison, Officer Katie Corbett, the purpose of these forms is to make the police aware of certain parties taking place, so in case things are getting out of hand, the police can stop by before the noise ordinance kicks in and help the students figure out how to keep the party under control before a complaint is made.
[singlepic id=1157 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Corbett became the new liaison in late spring of 2012, so this is her first school semester as liaison. She said she spent a lot of time over the summer researching different police stations in college towns and what other liaisons do, and this research inspired KPD’s version of the party registration form.
The hope, Corbett said, is to have students register their parties online, a day or several days beforehand so the officers on duty will know in advance because “I’m not checking my e-mails on patrol,” Corbett added. Then, during the warning period (before 11 p.m.), Corbett or other officers on duty will drive by the houses registered and see if the party seems under control. If it seems too loud, or something else related, the officer will know who they can talk to at the party, and together they work out how to quiet things down so the neighbors don’t complain. This way, the party doesn’t have to end.
“We’re just trying to keep track of everything,” Corbett said. “That way they’re staying safe, and they’re not getting complaints from the neighbors.”
Even though KSC is only a couple weeks into its fall semester, Corbett said that many students have already been utilizing this tool, and on Monday she said, “I already have some students registering parties for this upcoming weekend.”
According to her, it takes a matter of minutes to register online, and is easier to access for students who are on the computer so much. She said that the former KPD liaison, Officer Jon Stewart, used to have some students who would call before having a party and leave him a message. She thinks that having all the info and registration online will be easier for students than making the call.
Corbett also said that the registered houses don’t always need her help. “Sometimes I drive around and I see the houses with parties, and I say ‘Perfect, you’re doing everything right.’”
So far things have been working well with the new system; Corbett said the students who have used it have said good things about the process, and that now it’s a matter of getting the word out.
“The students who have chosen to do it I think have benefitted from it, because I’ve stopped at the house around ten and if there’s any issues I can address them before the neighbors start calling to say things are out of hand,” Corbett said.
Some students may feel that having the police know where they live, or the fact that the police know they’re having a party, makes them uncomfortable. Corbett said that she really doesn’t see this as a problem because KPD already knows which streets have parties and the heaviest foot traffic.
“We know the majority of the college houses anyway, so that’s not the issue. It has more of a negative effect if we don’t know, because we won’t know you’re having a party until a complaint comes in.” Another benefit of the registration form for the police is that it makes it easier for them to find a tenant of the house to speak to because all the information has been provided by the form. Corbett said that sometimes you have to go to a party with hundreds of kids and you have no idea who actually lives there.
There wasn’t a particular problem that led to the registration forms, Corbett said. She was just looking for a better way to keep track of parties and keep them controlled. “We’re always going to have issues with parties. I think the issue is keeping them under control to the point where the neighbors won’t call. we just want you to stay safe, and in a reasonable fashion,” Corbett added. For some of the students who have used the registration form, the system seems to be working very well. KSC senior Eric Moran said he registered his party a day beforehand and Officer Corbett only visited them once on the party night to help with some noise.
“She just stopped in the street, and she pretty much told us that we weren’t in trouble or anything. Just to keep it down, and try to keep people off the porches,” Moran said. “She was really nice about it. She even complimented my roommate’s toga.” With a good first experience, and no complaints from the neighbors, Moran said he will use the form again, and encouraged other students to use it as well. “They’re going to know you’re having a party anyway, unless it’s really quiet, so you might as well tell them that way they pretty much leave you alone.”
Another senior, Denise Perna, thinks the form is a safer way to regulate parties. “It reduces (the chance of) fines, and it also makes the environment much safer because the police are regulating the area. Sometimes it’s better to have an outside view than to have it all in our hands,” Perna added. She said the police know that students are going to have parties, and you can’t always hide it. “It’s just better to have all your bases covered, and be responsible.” One student did not have such a good experience with this party system. KSC senior Kellan Grady said he had called KPD to let them know that he might be having a party last saturday, but that he wasn’t sure if it would happen. According to Grady, he did not have a party at his home that night, but his neighbors did, and Officer Corbett went to their street because the music was apparently too loud.
Grady said the neighbors who were having the party even came out to talk to the police officer, and tried to explain that they were the ones having a party, and were probably being too loud. Regardless, Grady was issued a ticket and has a court date set in November.
“The Keene police do not believe in responsible parties. It’s either don’t have a party, or get a ticket. Unless you’re me, then it’s you call to tell them you’re thinking of having a party, then decide not to have one, and get a ticket anyway.”
Lindsey Arceci can be contacted at