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Oxford PD: ‘All Hands on Deck’ for Game Day Weekends

Oxford Chief of Police Joey East reviews last minute security details in advance of Saturday’s game against Wofford. (Photo by Russ Jones)

On game day weekends Oxford’s quaint community swells in size causing added security and health care measures.

To provide that necessary extra security, the Oxford Police Department utilizes all of its resources and then some to keep both residents and visitors safe.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said Chief of Police Joey East. “All vacations and time off is cancelled.”

On Wednesdays, the department begins distributing “No Parking” signs and organizing reserve officers and security contracting companies like Cobra.

East says game day weekends involve roughly 70 Oxford Police Officers and 15 to 20 reserves, and Cobra security personnel.

“It’s a challenge for a small department like Oxford’s,” East said. “But we get through it.”

East warns that when the community grows that much there are typically more drunk incidents and people simply being careless.

The Oxford Fire Department also ramps up staffing. On a typical day, the department serves and protects approximately 19,000 Oxford residents and 18,000 students on the campus of the University of Mississippi.

But all that changes on football weekends.

Joey Gardner, Deputy Chief Operations, says the increased population, makes for slower response times and presents unusual challenges, especially at the University-Oxford Airport.

“The traffic after the game can delay us in response. However, the Oxford Police Department does a wonderful job in getting the fire department through the traffic,” Gardner said. “It’s great that we have a good relationship with the OPD.”

For the University Police and Campus Safety Department, crowd control in The Grove becomes a cause for added security.

Ole Miss Police
Oxford’s increased population on Game Day weekends provides special challenges for the thousands who gather in The Grove. (Photo by Russ Jones)

Captain Don Douglas says security needs are determined by the team being played.

“For non-SEC games, The Grove obviously isn’t as crowded, but for Alabama, for example, there could be 50,000 to 70,000 people crammed into a small area.”

Chief East said prayer is an important weapon heading into game day weekends, but he also said people just need to think through their actions.

“Be smart and be patient,” East advises. “Don’t drink and drive. Be aware of your surroundings. Although it’s a small town, it’s not Mayberry.”

Russ Jones is the Editor-In-Chief for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at russ.jones@hottytoddy.com.

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