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Slammin' and Jammin' keeps police busy
Jun 02, 2004 12:00 am
It was not all fun and games for the Lebanon Police Department during the Slammin' & Jammin' weekend.
"This weekend was a complete nightmare for us," Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said Sunday. "We had a wide array of problems along South Cumberland Street. Fortunately we had enough (officers) working there."
Bowen attributed 85 percent of the disturbance calls over the weekend to the popular three-day car show, which drew in more than an estimated 14,000 visitors at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center.
"We tried to handle the major stuff," the police chief said. "Most of the severe problems were fights breaking out in parking lots that had to be addressed and we had a couple of subjects arrested for assault."
Bowen blamed alcohol for some melees and chaos that ripped along South Cumberland Street on Friday and Saturday night.
"This was definitely worse than last year," he noted. "This year both nights saw a large amount of problems like fights and reckless driving. As people became more intoxicated, things got progressively worse. We had one call where a baseball bat was involved. There was more violence this year than last year."
One of the major obstacles officers combated during the chaos was traffic congestion, Bowen said.
"The traffic was a nightmare," he recalled. "It was backed up for over three miles so that you couldn't get anywhere. There were a large number of people riding in vehicles and we had sidewalks lined with people who went out into traffic throwing beads. Had we had twice the people working we could've arrested twice as much."
Slammin' & Jammin' melees spawned 28 total arrests and 223 tickets – a week's average in just two days, the police chief said.
"It's a shame that our citizens have to drive through town and see this mess," Bowen commented. "It's sad to see the town in this shape for two days. We answered 600 calls between 6 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday. Most of the calls were attributed to public intoxication and public indecency.
"We had big problems with flashing, domestic assaults in hotels and reckless driving," Bowen added.
After battling the chaos over the weekend, the police chief remains pessimistic about the future of the car show.
"It's getting worse every year," he said. "We see it only to continue to get worse. The men and women in our department did very well, but we could've used more man power."