Police keep the peace in Five Points

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Police were out in force in downtown Columbia following Saturday's game.

Police say more than 40 people were arrested in Five Points for various things, but police say there were no major incidents.

A total of 63 charges were filed against the people arrested, including Assault, Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol, Drunkenness, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Beer Under the Age of 21, Open Container, Fake ID, Unlawful Urination, and Providing False Information to Police.

Of those 63 charges, 23 were for alcohol-related offenses and 17 for disorderly conduct or resisting arrest.

So that means that 40 of the 63 charges were essentially for excessive celebration, and 13 of the remaining 23 charges filed by Columbia Police on Saturday night were for traffic violations.

Five Points is back to normal, with few if any reminders of the massive crowd that poured into the district Saturday night.

On most weekends, Columbia Police deal with an influx of two to three thousand, but after the Gamecocks throttled the Georgia Bulldogs at Williams-Brice, the Five Points crowd tripled, six to eight thousand.

But the city was ready.

"Our goal and our message for our operation was to go out there and make sure, if we can prevent something from happening that's what we wanted to do," said Chief Ruben Santiago. "In this case it was the amount of officers, I think was a big factor. This was probably one of the first big games where we worked Five Points and we didn't have one single reported fight amongst people who were in Five Points."

According to Santiago, that's uncommon.

Police say using their sky watch tower allowed them to get a better view of potential problems, but now with the team ranked third in the nation will police have to respond in force every weekend?

"The level of officers we had out there this past weekend, realistically we're just not going to be able to sustain that kind of operation on an ongoing basis," said Santiago. "We're talking a good 65 to 70 percent of our police department's resources."

There were eight regularly scheduled officers on duty Saturday night in Five Points, and 42 extra duty officers.

That is a lot of overtime for the City of Columbia, and something the city is going to have to figure out a plan for as we move on in the weeks to come.

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