By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Behind the bright lights, big games and food of Homecoming festivities is a group of people keeping things safe.
Approximately 80,000 are expected to descend upon Stillwater. Patrolling among them will be officers from various law enforcement departments.
Oklahoma State University police and the Stillwater Police Department work together to make sure attendees have a safe, fun time.
Stillwater Police Capt. Randy Dickerson said officers will be on bikes, on foot and in patrol cars at each event to keep an eye on the crowds. For Saturday’s parade, police will be at the front in a car and on the sides in bicycles. Stillwater officers will also assist at the game by placing officers in the stadium.
“These are not entries in the parade but officers keeping people out of the way for safety reasons,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson said Stillwater police work closely with OSU police to patrol all the events.
Oklahoma State Director of Communications Gary Shutt said the university’s role is managing police coverage of events.
Shutt said OSU police will assist with several bicycle patrol officers for Walkaround Friday night and a patrol vehicle to help guide the parade.
“We are there to maintain order and make sure everyone has a great Homecoming experience,” Shutt said.
Officers will be watching for excessive alcohol consumption and underage drinking, Shutt said. Both Stillwater and OSU police department officials said last year went smoothly but they plan to keep an eye on parties throughout the weekend.
The time of the game can have some effect on behavior. Shutt said that in general, earlier game times usually lead to fewer arrests and fewer alcohol related issues in the stadium.
Shutt said the massive crowds mean more traffic to manage and a demand for parking. He said there is an increase for Walkaround, however it is less than a game day.
“To make it more accessible to visitors we run a hotel shuttle from the east and west side of Stillwater,” Shutt said.
Stillwater Medical Center also sells parking spaces to benefit the United Way and Monroe Street Garage parking is available at no cost.