By: Tom Foley
Each fall, Halloween presents students with an opportunity to unwind after a stressful week of midterms and have fun, but it also brings a fair share of risks to students as well. “It’s my favorite night of the year to work,” says twenty-year BSUPD veteran Assistant Chief (AC) Matthew Rushton. “We at BSUPD like seeing the students out in their costumes and having fun.” According to AC Rushton, the main student risk police see around Halloween is alcohol, “We see a slight uptick in alcohol related incidents,” but adds that BSU today is a lot more tame compared to the campus of yesteryear, “Generally, students at BSU have gotten better at self-moderating over the years.”
Many students will venture off campus to house parties on streets like Burrill Ave., which presents another set of potential dangers to students; one of which is the unfortunate possibility of vehicle collision with pedestrians. “We see a lot more foot traffic on Burrill Ave. and Plymouth Street and ask that students wear something reflective and refrain from wearing darker clothes” says AC Rushton, who also advises motorists to be aware of both their speed and people who are walking along the side of the road.
When it comes to the parties themselves, AC Rushton advises groups as being one of the safest ways to go out and have fun responsibly. “I strongly advise that people go out in groups, stay in groups, leave in groups. Avoid wearing masks that cover the face and opt instead for face paint, so you can easily identify all the members of your group.” Planning a schedule before-hand is also a prudent strategy to staying safe, “Make thorough plans with your group, like what time you are leaving and returning home,” says AC Rushton.
Another unfortunate reality of parties is the potential of drink tampering, “Of course you also want to watch your drinks; don’t leave it unattended or uncovered,” advises AC Rushton. Students can expect a strong police presence on the weekend before the holiday and on Halloween itself. “BSUPD will be on highly visible patrol in marked patrol cruisers, don’t hesitate to flag them down if you need help,” encouraged AC Rushton.
Like many schools across the country, Bridgewater State University maintains an amnesty policy for the reporting of alcohol-related injuries. Simply put, the police will not punish a person for calling emergency services if, say, their friend is showing signs of alcohol poisoning or anything along those lines. “Our first priority is always the safety of the students; we’d hate to see someone not get the help they need because they’re afraid they’ll get into trouble for brining it to our attention,” says AC Rushton.
Students can reach BSUPD at 508-531-1212.
Stay safe and have a fun Halloween!