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Fayetteville police to keep closer tabs on house parties

Posted June 10, 2015

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— Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said Wednesday that his department plans to monitor house parties in the city more closely in the coming months after a series of shootings at such events.

Operation Safe Summer involves paying 12 officers overtime to respond to complaints about parties that haven't been registered with Fayetteville police. The program will start Thursday and will be in effect every weekend throughout the summer, Medlock said.

"I am desperate to keep our young people alive in this city," he said during a news conference where he was surrounded by teens.

Gunfire at house parties in Fayetteville has led to four deaths in the past year:

  • Last June, a man was killed when more than 70 bullets were fired outside a party on Grandview Drive.
  • In September, a teenager was shot to death outside a party on Randleman Street.
  • In April, a man was killed during a house party on Dick Street.
  • On Sunday, one man was killed and two others were wounded at a party on Wagon Wheel Court.

Although the Fayetteville City Council passed an ordinance that requires citizens to register house parties on the police department's website, many events go unregistered.

"I’m past asking. I’m begging parents and our youth to please at least let us know when there is going to be a party involving a lot of kids," Medlock said.

Mayor Nat Robertson said he plans to introduce another ordinance at next week's City Council meeting that would fine property owners $500 each time officers have to respond to an unregistered house party after the first offense. The party host also would receive a summons to appear in court.

The three teams of four officers working on Operation Safe Summer aren't out to break up unregistered parties, Medlock said. "It’s to make sure that they are safe."

Kristal Nicholas, a student at 71st High School, asked the chief why teens should believe police would protect them if they reported a party getting out of control.

"You're going to have to trust us," he responded.

Nicholas said that assurance was enough to make her feel safer.

"I don't like seeing my friends get shot," she said.

Medlock didn't have a cost estimate for Operation Safe Summer, but he said the city has no choice but to pay the bill.

"We can't afford to do it financially, but we can't afford not to do it," he said.


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