By Rob Bradfield
Between Diadeloso celebrations and a string of home invasions over the weekend, the Baylor Police Department has had its hands full.
Police action helped keep various unsanctioned student activities under control during the holiday, but resulted in the arrest of eight students in the Tenth Street area. With the exception of one count of assault, all the student arrests on Dia were for alcohol-related crimes.
In an unrelated incident League City senior Michael Greenleaf and two non-students — Chad Bailey Miller and Zachary Daniel Smith — were arrested Sunday by Baylor Police outside of the La Mirage apartments on Baylor Avenue.
“One of our officers caught them coming out with a TV and another blocked in their vehicle,” Baylor police chief Jim Doak said.
The three men, all in their early to mid-20s, were arrested and charged with burgling a habitation and engaging in organized criminal activity. In Texas, burgling a habitation is a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of between two and 20 years.
In this case, engaging in organized crime is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 99 and no fewer than five years in prison. Both charges can include a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Doak said three men were carrying toy guns when they broke into the apartment and began removing the absent tenant’s personal possessions. Police recovered a television, video games and a small amount of marijuana from the scene. The incident is still being investigated by police.
The students arrested on Tenth Street won’t be facing such stiff charges. In addition to the eight arrests, five people were also taken to the hospital for alcohol-related injuries. According to Doak, this has been one of the calmest Dias in recent years, due to increased police presence.
“We made it a point to engage students and set the tone,” Doak said. Students also made it a point to engage the officers by talking with them and posing for the occasional picture.
Doak said close to 40 officers from the Baylor Police Department, the Waco Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission were sent to deal with the celebrating students. The officers set up a command post that morning in the Speight Avenue HEB parking lot and maintained a presence on Tenth and the surrounding area for the rest of the day.
Even at varying levels of intoxication, students were generally responsive to police requests, Doak said. He said their main concern that day wasn’t crowd control, but the number of people on the roof of a house on the corner of Tenth and Wood Avenue, which police say reached nearly 70. Other concerns were students diving off a roof into an inflatable pool, but police broke up most of the celebrations that afternoon and people went home.
“At 5 p.m. the decision was made to shut the music down,” Doak said. Thanks to police presence and sturdy roofs, and in spite of the robberies, injuries and arrests the police department is satisfied that they helped give Baylor students one of the safest Dias to date.
“It was certainly not as bad as it could have been. Everybody went home in one piece,” Doak said.