City and campus police give tips on Little 500 safety

The days before Little 500 have quickly dwindled, and the weekend that many IU students say they have been waiting for is finally here.

To inform students about ways to stay safe before the onset of Little 500 weekend, the IU Police Department, the Bloomington Police Department and IU Student Legal Services had a “Safe Little 500” tabling event by Showalter Fountain. For a few hours Wednesday afternoon, the officers answered questions and listened to student comments about the coming weekend while handing out cookies and water to students passing by.

IUPD Capt. Andy Stephenson said the two departments have only had this kind of event for a couple years now, but it allows them to work together to prepare students for the popular party weekend.

“We want students to understand what to do if they’re stopped by the police or pulled over in a car,” Stephenson said.

The officers working the event handed out fliers with tips to take into consideration. One of the more common tips IUPD had for students was to take care of one another, especially visitors who are coming from out of town.

“A lot of what we see people getting in trouble are people from out of town, not so much students,” Stephenson said. “The court system has court on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., and then the people go pick up trash around campus, and most of those people are going to be visiting from out of town here. We suggest that people take care of each other, take care of your friends that visit from out of town. We want everybody to have a good time, but just try to be safe when you’re doing that.”

Other tips included being mindful of surroundings, looking for exit signs in a building in the case of an emergency, keeping a phone charged, watching drinks carefully, knowing when it’s time to stop drinking for the night, and only hanging out with friends and trustworthy people.

The departments also advised getting rides whenever possible and never walking alone at night, especially in areas where lighting is poor to begin with. IU Safety Escort is a free service that gives rides to up to two IU students or employees. It works every day of the week from 8 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. Students can arrange a ride with the service through the TapRide app or by calling directly at 812-855-7233. Since its main priority is to promote safety, the service will not transport people to a party or a bar but can pick them up from these locations as long as they are going home.

IU Student Legal Services handed out small cards noting the rights students have during police interactions. The card advises saying phrases like “I don’t consent to any searches,” “I am going to remain silent,” and “I want to speak with a lawyer before making any statement” if approached by police. Never run away from officers who approach you, stay calm during the interaction and always be respectful.

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