ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Orono police are working with University of Maine and town officials to crack down on next years "Maine Day."
The annual spring event is supposed to be a day of service for students, but Orono's police chief Josh Ewing says it has turned into something much different. "There seems to also be a large number that sees it as a day of partying," Chief Ewing said. "High risk behavior is taking place, high risk drinking is taking place."
A YouTube video from 'Maine Day' 2015 shows a huge block party near the campus. Trash lines the apartment complex parking lot and hundreds of students are seen drinking and partying. Chief Ewing says the last few years have been some of the worst. "Taking out light poles, ripping up trees, sometimes cars get stepped on." Chief Ewing said. Many times they have to call in for back up from other areas or bring more of their own men in, costing the town more money.
Which is why the department has teamed up with UMaine and town officials to come up with a solution before the problem gets completely out of hand. Chief Ewing says landlords will be keeping a closer eye on tenants, there will be a bigger police presence for the event and the school will be doing more to educate new students about the true meaning behind the day.
Students on UMaine's campus were ok with the idea of collaboration. They feel the event can get out of hand for some of the younger classes. "I don't think that the partying or any of that should dilute the true meaning of service behind that day because we put in a lot of work." UMaine Junior Caleb Hubbard said.
Police say there's nothing wrong with celebrating, they just want students to be responsible. "Following the rules and being safe is what we are trying to get them to do and if we have to do that through enforcement as well, we would add that." Chief Ewing said.
School officals say they feel the partnership will create an even better "Maine Day" experience for the students in the spring.