Minimal social host citations issued by police since April, city focuses on education

Erin Krigger

City Council passed a social host ordinance last April, but since passed, Fort Collins police have issued very few citations for policy violations.

The ordinance had strong support by the Fort Collins city council and was adopted to cite hosts of parties where underage drinking or consumption of marijuana occurs. The purpose of the ordinance is to decrease the consumption of marijuana and underage drinking.

Ad

Police can arrive at a residence and issue citations without nuisance or noise complaints, and will issue a citation even if the host did not know that guests were under 21 years of age.

Citations do not go on to a permanent record because they fall under civil violations.

“The social host ordinance is an alternative to writing a nuisance or noise ticket,” Fort Collins Police Lieutenant Jeremy Yonce said. “Without (the) social host (ordinance) they would have been in a lot more trouble.”

On the first offense, a social host ordinance violation is $100 dollars as opposed to a noise ticket, which costs $300, or a nuisance ticket, which costs $500.

The newly adopted policy has been enforced by Fort Collins PD, but with how recently the social host ordinance was passed, they have worked to educate students about the law. Fort Collins PD talked about the ordinance during their community welcome event in August.

The enforcement of the new ordinance has been extremely minimal, especially over the first two weeks of the semester. It is a less severe option for when police are already dealing with parties and a noise or nuisance tickets, Yonce said.

“If we write a social host ordinance there is probable cause for others alternative,” Yonce said.

Many students living off campus do not agree with the new ordinance and do not understand the intention behind a new citation.

“They (the city) are not going to be able to stop partying and might as well not give $300 tickets every weekend,” said Gabe Yamartino, a Human Dimensions of Natural Resources sophomore.

In addition to helping register parties for noise violations, the Off-Campus Life office at CSU has been informing hosts of the new law.

Ad

Kim Pemberton, a junior english major, thinks it may discourage people from having parties, but is conflicted about the enforcement.

“I don’t want people to get in trouble for the actions of others,” said Pemberton in regards to hosts getting cited for people under 21 drinking on their property. “I understand why it is about the safety of people drinking underage, but there is not a way to know how old everyone is at a party.”

Collegian reporter Erin Krigger can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @littleekrig.