Police no busier than expected for a 'big game'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Police working the Penn State football game this past Saturday were busier than they have been all season, but they were no busier than they expected to be, according to Penn State Police Chief Tyrone Parham.

"We certainly were busy, but it was typical for a night game and for the size of the crowd. It was comparable to other games of this magnitude," Parham said. "As we anticipated, alcohol was one of the bigger challenges on the day. We had a number of citations for underage drinking, urinating in public, and one DUI in one of the parking lots."

Parham said although not all reports have been processed yet and they don't have official numbers, his sense is that the police got busier as the day wore on, with more serious issues arising later in the day. "By late afternoon we had quite a few people who had to go to the hospital for overconsumption of alcohol," he said.

Parham said they also received a few calls to parking lots for fights in progress or fights brewing. Once the stadium gates opened, some of that trouble moved from the parking lots into the stadium. Parham said there were at least a half-dozen calls inside the stadium related to fighting or potential fights. "These were random incidents linked to alcohol, but apparently not linked to team rivalries."

There was one incident inside the stadium that was linked to fan rivalry that caught the attention of many people in the section, as a man wearing a Michigan shirt became so disruptive and physical that police ultimately resorted to using pepper spray to subdue him.

"Alcohol was most definitely a factor in that situation," Parham said. "Fans in section NL asked an usher for assistance when the man became disruptive and offensive toward them. When the usher tried to eject him from the stadium, he allegedly struck her, which is when police were called to assist. Four officers responded - two from State College and two from Penn State - but when they tried to remove him from the stadium he continued spewing expletives, became physical and resisted arrest. At that point it became a safety issue and that's when the decision was made to use the pepper spray and attempt to handcuff him."

A second, unrelated incident came at the end of the game, when a few people left the stands to go onto the field. Most complied immediately when officials told them to leave, but a 51-year-old man refused to leave the field and became disorderly. When he ran from them, athletics officials asked for police assistance to apprehend him and remove him from the field.

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Last Updated October 14, 2013