Police see dramatic rise in calls as students come back

In increased patrol, two shifts overlap from 10 p.m. to midnight



The Evergreen works to provide the best information about recent crime and court updates in the Pullman area.

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

The number of police calls has more than doubled since the summer with the start of the new semester.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the total number of calls during a weekend in the summer averaged between 60 to 70. The number of calls increased to 125 during Aug. 16 to 18. During the weekend of Aug. 23 to 25, more than 170 police calls were made.

Jenkins said the number of police calls decreases during winter breaks. From Dec. 28 to Jan. 1 of last year, there were around 80 calls made.

“[The number of calls] will stay fairly consistent until the weather changes,” Jenkins said. “While the weather is good, those calls stay up, and we stay pretty busy.”

Jenkins said more calls occur during the fall semester than the spring semester. He said the number of calls will decrease when it begins to snow. However, the number of callers for traffic incidents will increase during that time.

Jenkins said there are some calls that occur more frequently than others. During the weekend, officers respond to several noise complaints, parking complaints, alcohol-affiliated complaints and animal-related complaints.

According to Pullman PD daily activity logs, 34 noise complaints were made, and 13 alcohol offenses were reported from Aug. 23 to 25. During Aug. 16 to 18, 11 noise complaints were made, and 4 alcohol offenses were reported.

“A lot of our calls are concentrated in the Greek Row area,” he said. “There’s a lot of activity there, but we do get calls all over town.”

Jenkins said student-involved calls also occur around Stubblefields Bar. The Pullman PD does not respond to calls made from campus unless additional assistance is requested from WSU Police.

Jenkins said the Pullman PD College Hill beat officers respond to the calls made from College Hill and Greek Row. He said the officers work Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from late afternoon to early morning.

“Our patrol officers are very aware of where the activity is and where a lot of the calls are, so they will increase their activity there as needed,” he said.

Jenkins said the department’s scheduling stays consistent year-round. During the summer, staff members will take vacations, or the department will set up extra training.

During the school semester, Jenkins said the swing shift and graveyard shift will overlap to double the number of officers working. The two shifts already overlap from 10 p.m. to midnight. However, during high-activity weekends, the swing shift will continue past midnight. The swing shift begins at 4 p.m. and usually ends at midnight.

Jenkins said the graveyard shift is sometimes called in early if there is very high call activity. The graveyard shift begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 7 a.m.

“The way our shifts are designed, it gives us a lot of flexibility,” he said. “So that we can have double our patrol officers on the street in the evening hours and early morning hours.”

Jenkins said call activity increases during home football games. The first home football game of 2018 happened on Sept. 8. There were 177 calls made from Sept. 7 to 9.

He said Pullman PD and WSU Police coordinate security during home football games. Activity begins to increase during halftime because some spectators will leave the game and begin showing up around Greek Row, Jenkins said.

“There’s a lot of people who come in from out of town. Some of them will just come in for the game and leave, but a lot of them don’t, and they’ll stay,” he said. “Some of them will be involved in the College Hill area, so that adds to the call volume that we have.”

Jenkins said several calls are made during Halloween. Last year, 50 calls were made on Oct. 31. Forty-nine calls were made on Oct. 31, 2017.

“We know when these events are coming up, so we plan accordingly… and staff appropriately,” he said.