Friday, May 10, 2002

Security eased at Kings Island Grad Night

By Sheila McLaughlin,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Police are scaling back their enforcement of tonight's Grad Night teen event at Paramount's Kings Island after a decline in arrests and trouble last year.

        In 2001, police agencies made a handful of arrests outside the park — mostly for underage consumption — compared to 48 arrests the year before, said Mason Sgt. Todd Carter.

        Police attribute the decline to what appears to be dwindling attendance as well as 40 percent fewer overnight hotel stays.

        “We like to think also that maybe our young people are being a little more sensible,” Sgt. Carter said.

        Kings Island won't release attendance figures, but police say they've been told the park is expecting a crowd of about 6,000 people for the seven-hour event, which begins at 5 p.m.

        That's half the estimates reported in previous years, when the 30-year-old event drew bus loads of teens from out-of-town schools.

        Consequently, Sgt. Carter said Mason police will station only half as many officers on patrol around the park and to check carryout stores for illegal purchases and hotels for rowdy parties.

        County juvenile officials have abandoned a satellite court to process charges and bonds for juveniles, which before was set up across the street from the park at Kings Island Resort and Conference Center.

        Warren County sheriff's officials said they will put a limited number of cruisers on main roads leading to the park, instead of the all-out traffic blitz in previous years.

        One detective will be on call to handle serious offenses, compared to several who previously helped work undercover in the park.

        “A lot of stuff was coming out of kids staying in the motels,” sheriff's Maj. Gary Miller said. “With that tapering down, that has slowed things down a lot.”


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