Pullman Police Department prepares for Halloweekend

Many of the issues associated with Halloween weekend come from visitors, police say


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant explains the preparations that the department goes through in an effort to help reduce incidents that occur during parties, like increasing foot patrol on College Hill.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Local police agencies are taking extra steps to ensure public safety during one of the biggest social weekends of the school year.

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said Pullman sees a large number of students and out-of-town visitors partying during the festive Halloween weekend.

He said that the department’s goal is to educate people so that they can stay safe, not to punish those who are having fun.

“Being a college town, we’d really like to educate people before it becomes the enforcement aspect,” Tennant said. “No one’s found a good formula yet.”

Tennant said there is an increase in activity during the weekend, but an increase in crime is dependent on the weather and number of people in town for the heightened social scene.

“Predators do come to Pullman to prey on sexual assault victims and they come here to party,” Tennant said. “They have no ties to the community.”

The holiday has shifted from a family event to a college-aged celebration in the past five-to-ten years, Tennant said.

Pullman PD will be sending out extra officers to deal with the increase in activity, especially in the areas of town where most WSU students are located. This includes increasing the number of patrols around Greek Row and Apartment Land, and foot patrols being added to the former.

WSU Assistant Police Chief Steve Hansen said his department will also be increasing the number of officers on patrol to that of a home football weekend. Most of the crimes they deal with are alcohol-related, and he doesn’t expect this weekend to be any different.

Hansen and Tennant echoed similar sentiments when it came to advice they would give to those partying this weekend — have fun, but be responsible.

“I’m always a big pusher of individual responsibility,” Tennant said. “Preplanning a little bit. If you’re going to go out with three guys or three of your girlfriends, plan ahead of time that we’re going to end the evening together.”

Hansen said WSU PD has not had to deal with many issues so far, but he expects that to pick up as they move into the weekend.

Both departments said they are happy to help with crimes in the other’s jurisdiction if that agency is busy, and that they are prepared to help as necessary.

Pullman Fire Department is also taking steps to ready themselves for the hectic affair.

“We staff up our department for the weekend, gearing up for extra calls due to the Halloween traffic,” Fire Chief Mike Heston said. “We’ll do that for the weekend as well as for the day of Halloween.”

Heston said that the increase in personnel on duty is needed to ensure that they have the necessary resources available to keep with the increase in calls for assistance they receive.