Foxfield races see decline in arrests

Police make 18 total arrests, eight of which were U.Va. students


As far as safety goes, the 36th annual Foxfield Races held Saturday were generally a success. An estimated 18,000 people attended the Albemarle County event to enjoy the sunny weather, watch the horses compete and tailgate in the infield.

An unofficial University tradition, Foxfield gathers students and alumni in an event historically prone to many drug and alcohol related offenses. This year, a total of 18 arrests were made, down from 61 arrests in 2012 and the 33 arrests in 2013.

A total of 237 public safety officials patrolled the event, ranging from law enforcement to fire and medical staff. Anyone who was considered a danger to him or herself or others was cited, though officials said they acted solely within a safety capacity.

Albemarle Police spokesperson Carter Johnson said the decline in arrests was because of safety awareness and outreach efforts which happened ahead of the event.

“We believe the decrease in arrests is an indication that the public education prior to the event is working,” she said.

The majority of charges were alcohol related, including drunk in public and underage possession of alcohol. Other more serious charges were drug related — three for cocaine and one for marijuana. The most extreme charge was for inciting a riot, a felony offense.

“One thing of interest is that out of the 18 arrests, eight were University students and an additional six were from other universities including Cornell, Georgetown, Richmond, James Madison and Lynchburg,” Johnson said.

The University’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team, a student group, worked beforehand to raise awareness about the harmful effects of prolonged drinking. As part of the Sober Pledge Campaign, ADAPT handed out roughly 800 free T-shirts to students who pledged not to drink during the event. On site, an ADAPT tent provided free water, snacks and sunscreen.

Because the University Transit Service did not provide busses to the event this year, Student Council ordered three buses to make round trips. This may have contributed to the decrease in traffic summons issued this year, as well — down to 54 from 61. According to Johnson, no one was arrested for driving under the influence.

A stricter alcohol policy at the entrance of the event was also enacted this year. On top of the standard rule requiring that alcohol be brought in 22 quart coolers, event staff restricted the number of beers an individual could bring in to 12.

Published April 28, 2014 in News

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