Copyright 2014 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.
DAYTON - Miami Valley taxpayers shelled out more than $57,000 in overtime to fund police officers from 13 jurisdictions to control crowds at the University of Dayton as its men's basketball team made a historic run in this year's NCAA tournament.
Faced with the job of clearing the streets of thick crowds of thousands of students and visiting revelers, law enforcement officers at one point or another endured thrown half-filled beer bottles, fist-swinging brawlers, fireworks, couches set afire, plenty of curses and some stumbling drunks who had difficulty standing. Some of the revelers jumped up and down on vehicles as though they were trampolines.
Police were dispatched from UD, Dayton, Five Rivers MetroParks, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, the Ohio State Patrol, Brookville, Huber Heights, Kettering, Miami Twp., Riverside, Oakwood, Sinclair Community College and Vandalia. Between the three days of celebrations, a total of 350 officers patrolled the campus.
Those are among the details contained in a lengthy after-action report from the Dayton Police Department obtained exclusively by this newspaper and WHIO-TV that revisits the nights of March 22, 27 and 29 as the University of Dayton student "ghetto" report's analysis recommends a number of steps that could curtail problems the next time an out-of-control celebration threatens.
They include taking preemptive action like designating no parking zones on dates when disturbances could be common like St. Patrick's Day or NCAA tournaments, making residents responsible for clean-ups, increasing street lighting in key areas, cutting back trees and shrubs to increase visibility and discourage tree-climbing, fixing concrete that could be torn up for projectiles, and requiring local alcohol sellers to not sell bottled beer during certain times since the glass can be a danger.
The university could also consider street cameras to discourage bad behavior, although privacy concerns could outweigh their use. The recommendations were authored by Dayton Police officer Colin L. Patterson of the East Patrol Operation Division using a law enforcement crime prevention model dubbed Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.
The celebrations took a toll. By the time they wrapped up, Dayton Police officers were punched in the face, a Five Rivers MetroParks officer was hit in the chest by a thrown rock, and a media representative was hit in the face by a thrown can of beer. Officers were injured while controlling the crowd and 32 people were arrested and charged by either Dayton or UD police. Of those, 13 were UD students. Eight officers reported injuries in total and three students were hurt.
At one point, two paddy wagons on hand were filled.
Police found that of 29 reported crimes over a month in the area, 21 were the result of the March 27 disturbance and two crimes arose from disturbances March 23 and 17. Only a theft from a Brown Street restaurant where an unattended cell phone was stolen was not related.
The financial cost was also great. Dayton police incurred $35,476.96 in overtime, while UD Police paid out $15,663.47 for extra staffing. Kettering police shelled out the next highest amount for overtime, $3,767.05 over the three days they sent additional officers to the campus. For the one day Miami Twp. police responded, they paid $1,100 in overtime. The 13 jurisdictions that assisted accrued a combined $57,107.69 in overtime costs. The university will not reimburse the departments.
UD and Dayton police officials were not immediately available for comments Monday.
This was Kettering police's first taste of a riot situation, said Chief James O'Dell, and while he commended the University and Dayton police's command staff for how they planned and executed safety protocols at the campus, he said students need to be held accountable for the violent actions that made such plans necessary.
"I wish it had never happened," he said. "I wish there was a little bit more adult behavior, but I think Chief Biehl in Dayton said also this was not the majority of students, this was a small minority group."
It took officers armed with wooden batons, shields and helmets to clear streets and achieve control, but not before vehicles and a residence were reported damaged and medics made runs to assist the injured. At one point, police had gas masks at the ready.
Typical excerpts from the investigative reports tell some of the story:
March 23, 11:30 p.m.: "Officers were dispatched to a disturbance at the University of Dayton on Kiefaber Street. When we arrived we saw that the entire street was full of people drinking and throwing glass bottles at us. We were given the order to form a skirmish line and clear the street of people.
"We started from the east and moved west on Kiefaber Street giving multiple orders to the crowd to disperse. Almost all of the crowd adhered to our orders and cleared the street...."
March 28 Midnight: "I provided verbal direction to (Kelsi) to get back on the sidewalk...(she) continued to step off the sidewalk. ...After the third time when (she) stepped into the roadway, she was escorted to mobile staging area and placed under arrest....I observed her to be intoxicated as she slurred her speech, swayed as she sat and was unable to comprehend the information I provided to her as a result of intoxication. (She) was transported to Montgomery County Jail without incident."
March 27 11:30 p.m.: "We took post in the middle of the 400 block of Kiefaber Street...during this time the crowd to the right side of me started to throw half full beer cans at me....at this time I was struck in the left side of my jaw with a beer bottle where my face shield and helmet did not cover. The bottle shattered as it impacted on my face sending glass and beer down my body. I bent over and covered myself with my shield because of the overwhelming pain caused by the bottle breaking over my jaw bone...I stayed on the scene for the remainder of the call...I had swelling and pain to the left side of my face...at this time I have no suspect information."