The University of Wyoming recently requested local law enforcement agencies provide more officers to work at university football games. The request stems from the predicted increase of people attending the games and drinking, Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley said.
When law enforcement officers are working at the games, they are stationed throughout the stadium to observe crowd activity and assist with any incidents that might arise.
This is also the first year alcohol is going to be served at War Memorial Stadium, so Sheriff’s Office deputies will continue to monitor crowds and assist when necessary, he said.
“To make sure that there is nothing inappropriate, you know, goes on — occasionally there’s fights during the games, they are alcohol-fueled a lot of the times — and they are actively observing to determine in anybody is out of line,” O’Malley said.
The Laramie Police Department has a contract with the university for 12 officers to work for $3,578 for each game. If more officers are needed, the amount UW pays increases. Instead of having a contract, the sheriff’s office charges the university $52 an hour for each deputy working the game, he said.
“What we charge the university is $52 an hour, regardless of what the overtime rate of the deputy is,” O’Malley said “Overtime for a lieutenant, say, would be a lot more than overtime for a patrol deputy, so we do an average of what the overtime rate would be among those ranks.”
O’Malley said tailgating is partly responsible for several of the alcohol-related incidents at the games. A lot of people tailgate responsibly, but there are often some who get out of control and create problems for others.
Preventing people from returning to the game after they leave might also affect the amount of consumption.
“It remains to be seen if it causes additional issues or whether it exacerbates some of the alcohol issues that our guys have seen (surrounding tailgating),” O’Malley said. “Not everybody is that way, you know, there is a lot of responsible people out there that partake and have really good, good fun and don’t get out of control, but there is always those few that cause problems for everybody else.”
LPD Lt. Gwen Smith said alcohol being served in the stadium would likely not affect the work officers do at the games.
“(We will work the game) the exact same way we have in the past,” Smith said. “We don’t know what impact alcohol in the stadium is going to have so we are going with our initial plan until we see that there is something different that needs to happen.”