Westfield Police’s Eye-Opening Renter Packet Reveals College Party Warnings!

Each fall, as classes commence at Westfield State University, officers from the city Police Department’s Community Services Unit visit apartments historically occupied by college students. Their purpose is to educate these students about acceptable behavior and what is deemed unacceptable.

Officer John Blascak, one of several community service officers who partake in this initiative, delivers a “community packet” to students from Westfield State University who rent apartments at the start of each semester. Their goal is to promote respect for neighbors and proactively prevent issues.

Despite these efforts, the police log consistently records calls to buildings with student tenants, mostly related to noise disturbances.

The “community packet” serves as a guide for apartment renters, outlining the expected tenant conduct, a list of relevant laws, and potential violations. It includes nine laws and city ordinances that students should be aware of, such as refraining from serving alcohol to minors, public drinking, using fake IDs, making excessive noise, consuming alcohol under 21 years old, or driving under the influence. It also explains the concept of disorderly conduct and warns that a residence can be designated a “nuisance house” if officers are frequently called there.

Each violation carries substantial penalties, including fines, potential civil lawsuits, jail time, and eviction. Officer Blascak describes it as a friendly reminder to students.

Hand-delivering the packets by officers serves the dual purpose of introducing themselves and building rapport with students while they are sober.

Police Captain Steven Dickinson reveals that this program, initiated by Lt. Eric Hall, has been in operation since the mid-2000s. He notes that college parties have changed significantly over the years, with fewer large gatherings compared to two decades ago.

Dickinson attributes this shift to changing generational preferences and a new factor: parents taking partial responsibility for their children’s behavior when renting an apartment. The department suggests that building owners have parents co-sign the lease agreement with student renters, ensuring that parents are notified and may also face consequences if their child violates city statutes or state laws. This, Dickinson believes, acts as a significant deterrent to misconduct.

Furthermore, the department collaborates with landlords to create leases that include parents as responsible parties, actively working to minimize potential problems.


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