ORONO, Maine — A weekend police and security crackdown at Orono’s newest apartment complex netted at least 28 summonses and four arrests by Orono police.
On the nights of Sept. 1 and 2, the first weekend students spent at The Grove, multiple noise complaints brought police to the complex on Park Street. Both nights, officers arrived to find hundreds of residents and nonresidents gathered in the parking lot drinking, blasting music and urging others to jump off the entryway roof at one of the buildings.
About 20 officers from several area departments broke up the parties, the first of which drew 300-400 young men and women and the second about 500. Only one arrest was made.
This past weekend, Orono police and management of The Grove, which caters almost entirely to university students, tried to ensure things didn’t get that out of hand again. Orono police put extra officers, including some dressed in plain clothes, on shift Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, according to Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing.
“We were busy, but at the same time no parties got out of control,” Ewing said Monday morning. “So we had the desired effect.”
Between Thursday night and Sunday morning, police issued 25 summonses for possession of alcohol by a minor, two summonses for possession of marijuana and another for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police also arrested four people at The Grove over the weekend — two were charged with criminal trespassing, one with disorderly conduct, and another with failing to provide police his correct identity and refusing to submit to arrest.
Not all of those arrested or summoned were university students or residents of The Grove.
Around 9:30 p.m. Friday, police in plain clothes approached a group of young men and women, most of whom were holding alcoholic beverages, gathered on the second-floor landing of one of the buildings, according to Ewing.
One of the individuals refused to identify himself or give his date of birth to police, according to Ewing.
“He stated that it was somehow going to ruin his life,” the captain said.
When the man, later identified as Kyle Carver, 19, of Beals, continued to refuse to identify himself, police attempted to detain him. Carver resisted officers when they attempted to place him in handcuffs but was subdued after a brief struggle, according to Ewing.
Carver was charged with failure to give correct name and address to police and refusal to submit to arrest.
In another incident, around 11 p.m. Saturday, police heard a commotion from the second-floor landing of another building in the complex. Ewing said a woman was shouting that a man was trying to “pick fights.”
Police spoke with Adam Lyons, 22, of Old Town, the man who was allegedly trying to start fights, and Tyler Michaud, 20, listed as a transient. The two men didn’t live at the complex, so management asked them to be removed from the property.
Lyons was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he argued with and swore at police when they told him to leave. Michaud left, but a few minutes later police saw him jump the fence to get back into the complex, according to Ewing.
Michaud was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.
Ewing did not provide information on the fourth arrest.
The company that owns The Grove, Campus Crest Communities Inc., released a statement last week saying the management would be increasing security and working with police to keep residents safe.
“Residents who compromise the safety and security of The Grove community will not be tolerated,” the company said.
Guards posted at the entrance to the complex and who walked the grounds monitored who came in over the weekend and turned away nonresidents, according to Ewing.
The next few weekends at the 21-apartment-building complex will likely draw similar police and security attention, according to the Orono police captain.
“We’ll be doing the same thing for the foreseeable future,” Ewing said.
The captain said he expects The Grove will become quieter as the school year moves along, once residents see that police are taking a “zero-tolerance approach to any sort of alcohol violation.”
Away from The Grove, things were quieter for Orono police. Officers patrolled College Avenue, which was heavy with nighttime foot traffic throughout the weekend, but made no arrests, according to Ewing.
At the University of Maine, campus police issued two summonses for illegal possession of alcohol by a minor, five summonses for possession of controlled substances, and nine students were referred to the school’s student conduct office with no summonses. There were no arrests on campus, according to Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
Dana said the university’s police force “loads heavy on the weekends,” and has to deal with many young men and women coming in from off-campus.
“Most of these problems arise from first-year students … who are testing their limits,” Dana said Monday afternoon.
After students are referred to the student conduct office the first time, they are seldom sent back a second time, according to Dana. He said the university takes substance abuse seriously because it can be “very corrosive” to the university experience.
“We have policy, we have police, we have prevention, and those three legs of the stool are fairly effective,” Dana said.