Increased Patrols for JMU Students

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Students at James Madison University are just days away from their first day of classes, which means they had two days to party together without having to worry about classwork.

Local police and the JMU community stepped up Saturday night to increase law enforcement and promote safety.

It's a scene that JMU school officials and police won't ever forget on August 2000. About 35 law enforcement officers were called out to Village Lane, some of whom were wearing full riot gear. Officers used chemical agents after a dumpster was set on a fire.

Lt. Kurt Boshart says they still hope to learn from that riot nearly eight years later.

"We looked at that situation. We tried to look at all angles of it as far as what we could do different," says Boshart. "James Madison University has been a great partnership with us in that effort. They don't want to see that happen again. We don't want to see that happen again."

Now, it's a changed outlook as police and school officials have a partnership. Just as in years past, both entities increase enforcement and promote safety the weekend before classes start.

Don Egle, JMU spokesperson, says, "It's not designed to get folks in trouble. However, I will say that it's also very important that our students and those around our students abide by the law."

Boshart says, "We want to protect the students. We want to protect the citizens in our community. So that's really what we emphasize, the importance that we put on the extra patrols."

Boshart says law enforcement already went door to door to let students know what the laws are and how they can have a law-abiding party, but that doesn't mean police will drop their guard.

"Right from the very start, we do zero tolerance in underage drinking, open containers, we're encouraging our officers to charge those charges," says Boshart.

Egle says JMU SafeRides is also out and about and they received numerous calls from students looking for rides home this weekend.