Police out in force for Halloween

Maximum police enforcement is expected on the streets of San Luis Obispo during the upcoming Halloween weekend starting with the Downtown Farmers Market on Thursday and stretching through to Sunday.

“We’re not going to put a number on it,” said Police Chief Deborah Linden. “But we will have all of our regular patrol cars, motorcycles, bicycles and officers on foot. We will be heavily concentrated in the neighborhood at the north end of the city near Cal Poly.

“And we will also have increased enforcement downtown.”

She said in the seven years she has served here as the city’s chief, Halloween has become a more significant party time for young people and there has been an upsurge in alcohol-related problems.

Halloween falls on Saturday this year, making it a bigger enforcement challenge, Linden said.

But Linden noted Halloween here compares favorably with the historic Halloween party centers of Isla Vista near UCSB or Chico State University. But she does not want it to develop into an even bigger law enforcement challenge.

She said if the problem is significantly worse this year when arrests and citations are tallied up, she will consider asking the City Council to adopt a “safety enhancement zone” similar to what exists during the Mardi Gras time period.

Such a proposal is already part of a mixed bag of solutions Linden is expected to present to the council on dealing with alcohol and party disturbances her department faces.

The zones can lead to much higher fines for things like nudity, public urination and other violations. Linden has suggested the city consider adopting such regulations during the periods around the start of Cal Poly in September, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day in addition to Mardi Gras.

“You will see significantly more officers from all of the agencies,” she said. “From us, from Cal Poly; the CHP is also increasing their staffing.”

She said that there will be at least one driving under the influence checkpoint with the CHP; the date and time will be announced.