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Cup-related charges cut by more than half

Posted: April 5, 2018 4:47 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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The Camden Police Department (CPD) and its partner agencies issued summonses or arrested 43 people during March 31’s 84th running of the Carolina Cup. That is a more than 50 percent drop from previous years, according to CPD Chief Joe Floyd.

“Our typical total numbers have been between 120 and 150 cases,” Floyd said Wednesday.

Of those 43 cases, Floyd said officers arrested seven people: two for cocaine possession, two for illegal possession of prescription medication and three for breach of peace. The 36 other cases resulted in summonses, 25 of which were for minors in possession of alcohol. The remaining summonses were for various other charges.

“This was definitely down from our normal numbers,” Floyd said. “The numbers were certainly very different.”

At the 2017 Carolina Cup, the CPD and S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) filed 117 charges, 23 of which resulted in people going to jail. In 2016, the CPD and SLED made roughly 200 charges.

Floyd said only one person was transported to the hospital this year -- someone who suffered medical distress from drinking alcohol.

He said the CPD expected lower arrest numbers going into this year’s Cup because of the expected smaller crowd size.

“The Cup was able to tell us in advance -- almost two months out -- that there were going to be fewer people,” Floyd said, especially in the area known as College Park.

That, he said, turned out to be a good thing.

“It was hard in the past to keep them safe, even if it was from themselves,” Floyd said of college students. “If we didn’t, then we weren’t doing our job.”

The Carolina Cup Racing Association (CCRA) created College Park in 1997 as a way for college students coming to celebrate at the event to have a space of their own following complaints of at-risk behavior in the infield. Previously, what became College Park had been used for parking. This year’s Cup marked the last time the CCRA is allowing College Park to be open for students. The association has yet to decide what it will do with the space.

Floyd said while this year’s College Park crowd was decidedly smaller than in previous years, it appeared to him that infield sales were up.

“We saw more families with children,” he said. “They moved the Jack Russell Terrier event from the fall to the spring, so that may have contributed. There was more of a family tone.”

Floyd said the CPD worked with several partner agencies in terms of security at this year’s Cup. Assistance came from various agencies, including SLED, whose plainclothes agents handled underage drinking cases; and the police departments of Coastal Carolina University and the University of South Carolina.

“They have a good perspective on managing college students on an everyday basis,” Floyd said.

He said knowing the projected size of the crowd ahead of time allowed all the agencies, including the CPD, to reduce the number of officers involved. In previous years, Floyd said about 150 officers would police the spring Cup; this year, they needed about 100. SLED, he said, cut the number of its officers in half from 30 to 15.

Outside the Cup, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said his office issued fewer citations and made fewer arrests than in previous years.

According to Matthews, deputies arrested one person for DUI. Last year, they made no DUI arrests. Overall, however, things were better.

“We had three driving under suspension; 10 seatbelt violations; 25 speeding, including one where they were probably doing 25 miles per hour over the speed limit; seven open container; one for drug paraphernalia; and we issued 37 warnings,” Matthews said.

That comes to a total of 59 charges or warnings; in 2017, deputies filed 114 charges or warnings.

The sheriff said he thinks the overall infractions were lower precisely because of the fewer college students who came to this year’s Cup.

“My guys told me there were only 18 instead of 100 buses at College Park,” Matthews said. “The worst offenders didn’t show up. We’re pleased with it.”

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