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Bemidji Police Department prepares for dual homecomings

 BEMIDJI – Local law enforcement are preparing for increased activity in the area with two homecoming football games in two days.

“It’s going to busier because you’re going to have more people in town,” said Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin. “That’s kind of the bottom line.”

Bemidji High School will play its homecoming game Friday night, while Bemidji State University will play Saturday. Both events promise to bring more activity to the area, and therefore a need for police presence.

Typically, both the high school and university contract with the Police Department to pay for overtime for officers to patrol the games, Mastin said.

In addition to that, the department will be using part of a $4,000 grant it received in August from the Invitation Health Institute to pay for overtime for a couple extra officers to target underage drinkers over the weekend, Mastin said.

“To effectively enforce that, we have to be more proactive than reactive,” Mastin said. He added that during normal patrols at sporting events, it might be difficult to find minors who have been drinking when they don’t act intoxicated.

“When we’re on a grant, that’s what we’re being paid for, to be suspicious,” Mastin said.  

Casey McCarthy, the director of public safety at BSU, said while there have been some events at the Hobson Memorial Union, the main concern over the weekend is the football game. Their area of jurisdiction is limited to campus.

“We add some extra patrol that we wouldn’t throughout the week for any non-event,” McCarthy said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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