Investigations continue into frat party raid

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, June 23, 2011

Troy University Police Chief John McCall said the two off-duty officers at an off-campus fraternity party Wednesday night were primarily responsible for keeping the peace.

McCall said it is a common practice for Troy University officers to be hired to work off-campus private parties, such as the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity party that led to more than 50 arrests for underage drinking.

“They are paid for by the university, but the fraternities or sororities reimburse the university,” McCall said Thursday. “Their responsibilities are basically to keep the peace while there; to make sure there are no trespassers at the party; and to make sure no weapons or contraband are being brought into the party.”

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And he said while the officers will prevent anyone who appears intoxicated from driving or leaving unescorted, it is not the responsibility of the university officers to determine if attendees are of legal age to consume alcohol.

The Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control unit raided the Kappa Alpha Psi party held late Wednesday night at The Pines restaurant in downtown Troy. The raid resulted in 51 arrests for underage drinking, including one juvenile. One individual also was charged with a felony count of possession of marijuana. All were processed through the Troy Police Department.

William Thigpen, assistant administrator for the ABC office, said Thursday that restaurant owner Sandi Garrett was scheduled to meet with ABC agents today.

“She is responsible as owner of the restaurant,” he said, adding that the investigation into the incident is still ongoing. “If it’s her first offense, and I think it is, she could fined or (have her license) suspended.”

Garrett said Thursday she had rented the restaurant to the fraternity for a private party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. She had two servers on the premises at the time of the party. Garrett said she has frequently rented her restaurant to university groups for similar functions and the raid was the first she’d experienced in her 14 years of ownership.

Lt. Thomas Price with the ABC board said early Wednesday that his agency had received a call alerting officers to the party and possible consumption of alcohol by minors.

Thigpen elaborated on that Thursday. “We got a call from a person to one of our agents that minors were consuming alcohol at this party,” he said.

“This was at about 10 o’clock. We sent one of our agents to the scene … and he called his lieutenant.

“They got six of our individuals to go down there.”

The raid began around midnight, Price had said on Wednesday.

Price originally estimated that nearly 300 people were inside the restaurant at the time the raid began, although McCall said his officers on the scene could not confirm the number of attendees.

Also on Thursday, university officials held an internal meeting to determine what punishment they will pursue for the 38 students who were among those arrested and the fraternity.

“As far as any disciplinary actions against the students or the fraternity, we’re going to meet this afternoon and try and resolve that,” said Herbert Reeves, dean of students. The fraternity was temporarily suspended on Wednesday prior to the resolution of the investigation.