After 27 people were arrested on the Tippecanoe River over the weekend, Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine is hopeful that Indiana Conservation Officers will step up their patrols in the future.
He told the county commissioners Tuesday that local officials had been asking for an increased presence in the area for a while, but conservation officers weren’t aware of the severity of the issue until this weekend’s arrests. “When you’ve got somebody so drunk they’re laying in a flotation device, passed out in a little tube, that all he has to do is roll off of that and they’re going to drown, that’s probably pretty dangerous,” Richwine said. Making matters worse, according to Richwine, is that many of them presumably planned on driving home.
While most of the arrests had to do with minor consumption of alcohol and one person was charged with possession of marijuana, Richwine said he wasn’t sure if anyone was cited for littering, which is another big concern for local residents. He suggested that one way to address that going forward might be to pass an ordinance requiring a deposit for items brought onto the river. “If you take these many beer cans out with you, you should be bringing this many back,” he explained, “because I’ve been told anywhere from 1,000 to 1,300 people a weekend, they’re putting on the river, and if 10 percent of those are leaving a few beer cans, that’s a lot of beer cans.”
Richwine said the arrests made for a busy weekend for his deputies and jail staff. He said the jail was briefly over capacity, until the suspects bonded out.