Starting this fall, the Keene Police Department is attempting to foster its relationship with Keene State College students through party registration. This process, which several students in apartments off campus have already used, is an attempt by the police department to generate better communication between the department and the students, with the hopes that this communication will help alleviate tensions oftentimes felt between the two.
According to the police department, students who want to register their parties through the police or Campus Safety should fill out the party registration form found either through the Keene State College website or through the City of Keene website.
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There have been mixed reviews regarding how the police respond to parties that have been registered. For some, the registration has helped facilitate a smooth interaction when the police have had to come because of noise violations or neighbor complaints. In these circumstances, KPD officers have been able to contact the sober host prior to 11 p.m. to warn them of potential noise violations and to make sure things are running smoothly. These cases represent the ideal possibility of this new form of communication—namely a respectful relationship between authority and college student. However, there is room for improvement, as can be seen when things do not run as smoothly.
In one particular case, a student was issued a ticket for a party that he was not hosting. Although he had filled out the party registration form, he ended up not hosting a party; however, his neighbors did. Instead of ticketing the neighbors responsible for the noise violation, the officer issued the alleged non-offending student the ticket. This example reflects the potential for what this registration could turn into—that is, abuse of authority and the possibility of being held responsibility for something in which someone had no part. Although this is a possibility for all aspects of the law, it must be a priority of both the Keene Police Department and the college community to avoid these types of miscommunication.
Every new system has its flaws and room for improvement. Hopefully the process of party registration will grow to its full potential as a useful tool bridging the gap between college students and the greater Keene community.