Police Send Helicopter to Disperse Drunk College Students

When the ground strategy failed, police turned to the air.


Twitter/Screenshot via @bartstoolsports

Was is absolutely necessary to bring in a helicopter to deal with some drunk Penn State students having a tailgate party? At first, police said yes. A statement from the campus cops claims they had no choice but to deploy a helicopter before Saturday's football game, given "numerous law violations, including serious threats to officer safety within a disorderly crowd."

"First, the tailgaters ignored commands to disperse from law enforcement on the ground," Cpl. Adam Reed, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania State Police, tells The Patriot News. "The crowd began to turn unruly and two PSP horses were assaulted and a trooper was injured."

The officer in question attempted to "subdue" a man who assaulted his horse and broke his hand in the process, Penn State police tell the Centre Daily Times. That man was eventually arrested.

The cops then abandoned their ground strategy in favor of an aerial one. A state police helicopter flew over the tailgaters, and the officers inside it used a loudspeaker to demand that everyone disperse. Video footage taken from the ground shows the helicopter hovering over the tailgaters, sending debris flying:

Ultimately, the aerial strategy worked. "Following the use of the helicopter, the dangerous behaviors dissipated," university police's statement read.

But several witnesses say the party wasn't really out of hand, aside from the fellow who attacked the horse. Scott Olson, whose son attends Penn State, was tailgating next to the gathering that police were trying to disperse, which he described as a fraternity party. "It didn't seem that crazy. It didn't affect our side at all, but I guess some folks on the other side of the aisle had some issues with them, and they complained to police," he tells the Times.

Penn State graduate Joshua Fulmer, who was also tailgating nearby, says police responded within 30 minutes of the party starting. "Nobody that I interacted with seemed overly intoxicated," Fulmer tells the News. "Frankly, they weren't there long enough to have gotten inebriated."

Indeed, Olson thinks the helicopter may have posed a bigger threat than the tailgate itself. "Can you imagine if a helicopter sent debris that hit a horse and it got spooked and started trampling the kids?" he asks StateCollege.com.

Though they initially defended the tactic, university police later released a statement saying they would "discontinue use of a helicopter to make crowd announcements at football games pending an assessment." The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating too.

Bonus links: In May, police in Rialto, California, called in a helicopter to confront three black women leaving an Airbnb. And in July, Pennsylvania State Police used a helicopter to follow a man they thought might be involved in a 10-plant marijuana grow "operation." The man died after a trooper commandeered a bulldozer and accidentally ran him over.

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  1. You give children toys and then expect them not to play with them?

    1. But did the cops got home safe? Because that’s the real story.

    2. Basically. I always think they see choppers as a “use it or lose it” toy.

  2. C’mon….
    Kavanaugh was there, right?

  3. “Heros.”

  4. OT: Is there any chrome extension to replace Reasonable? It hasn’t worked for me ever since Reason went to HTTPS. It wasn’t a problem for a good year when the commenting on the site dropped off, but I really need the troll blocking and “new post” highlighting now that the crazies are in full force.

    1. The irony of you not being able to see my post after I give you advice on how to block me is noted.

      Otherwise, yes. I use https://github.com/sthgrau/greasonable. Not as good as Reasonable, but you get most of the same functionality, just a little uglier.

      1. OMFG you are right…this is ugly as sin. Thank you.

  5. total fucking moron punches a horse.

    1. Because when I think of horse punching, mental giants like Mongo and Conan come to mind.

      I think I’ve mentioned it before but legend has it that a member of the Casual family tree was notorious for having beaten a horse to death with his bare hands. Probing of people who couldn’t possibly have been there suggests the horse not to have been the youngest of colts and that Great Grandpa Casual was worked up because he was overworking the animal. But that the animal died by his hand isn’t generally questioned as other anecdotes suggest the guy was unquestionably mean enough to have done it.

      1. Grandpa Casual likely man enough to understand *how* to take down a horse proper.

      2. Did he keep beating it after it was dead?

    2. #Mongo

    3. Don’t take it out on the poor horse, it didn’t choose to be a cop.

  6. Good thing the helicopter didnt have a mechanical problem, fall to the ground, and kill numerous innocent tailgaters.

    1. He lucky he didn’t cause a mechanical problem. I’m really surprised he didn’t FOD an engine.

  7. Is such a thing as qualified immunity for police when police use a helicopter and that rotor blast causes a flying object that kills a tailgater?

    1. When the cops shoot at someone and miss, resulting in an innocent bystander being killed, their target is charged with murder.

      So I suspect whoever started the party would be charged with murder in the case you describe.

      1. There are instances where police chases result in innocent pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles being hurt or killed too.

        Many of the police get immunity.

        Its why that recent discussion of minimizing police immunity is a good thing.

  8. I had a helicopter come to a party of like 20 people. Got my last alcohol citation at that party. Was 20 years and 11 months old. Fucking theiving cops.

  9. fraternity party.

    As we know from the recent media barrage, these parties are in a sex-fueled environment, women showing their ankles, that sort of thing.

    1. “It’s not an orgy. It’s a TOGA party!”

  10. The police are given more tools to use, so they use them.

  11. I hope they collected all the names and photos of the loud, obnoxious, drunk college kids at the party, in case any of them are nominated to the Supreme Court 35 years from now.

    1. Better be safe than sorry and put them all in jail for life right now so they can never threaten a woman’s right to choose.

  12. Flying metal tent poles are great dispersal agents.

  13. Hopefully the blade wash on the helicopter blew some college skirts el norte

    1. Damn you!

    2. Young women these days do shave and create a ‘runway’ of sorts.

  14. Wait a minute! This helicopter is blowing way too few women’s clothes off for this to be a beer commercial.

  15. You know who else strove for air superiority?

    1. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.?

    2. Imperial Japanese?

    3. icarus

    4. Johann Sebastian Bach?

    5. Jefferson Starship?

      1. long live Marty Balin. one pill makes you larger.

    6. Pink Floyd?

    7. John McCain?

    8. Movie Final Countdown?

  16. ‘Police Send Helicopter to Disperse Drunk College Students’

    Thus preventing multiple gang-rapes and ice throwing incidents.

  17. Ha. I saw this and thought to myself “When I was in school they would always deploy helicopters during big events and games”. Where did I got to school? Penn State.

    State College police (and PA state police) were always out in force for big football/partying weekends. Ass holes used pepper spray to keep us off the field after big wins – they seem to have eased up that, at least.

    1. I graduated in 87 and I don’t remember a police presence anywhere, but I’m sure things have changed. One year students broke into Beaver Stadium to tear the goal posts down after a away win at Pitt and the cops were minimal and very restrained, pretty much nicely asked everyone to leave.

      We used to have kegs in the dorm library and minors were permitted to attend. Times have changed I’m sure. Now there would probably be a SWAT team if that happened.

      1. I knew a guy who was there in the 80s and he talked marching goal posts down College Ave. I was there 2002-2006. By the time I left there would be mounted police and helicopter patrols out for big home games, Artsfest weekend, and other big party weekends (I graduated before State Paddy’s Day was a thing, but I’m sure it was similar). This was in response to “riots”, i.e. 20 drunk kids climbing light polls and doing some minor vandalism in Beaver Canyon. I think it really picked up my senior year, when we started doing well in football again (that was the year of the first [student section] White Out against Ohio State – what a week, and still one of the best events of my life).

      2. In the late 80s we had huge parties in our dorm with kegs and garbage cans full of jungle juice. Good times.

        And nothing bad happened. Except I’m sure there were multiple “sexual assaults” which consisted of a drunk dude making a clumsy attempt to plant a kiss on a girl. Which was easily rebuffed.

      3. “broke into Beaver Stadium to tear the goal posts down”

        That experience in moving goal posts is essential if they wanted to be journalists or Internet commenters.

        1. Also doubles as a great euphemism.

  18. Is it wrong that I laughed at the last sentence?

  19. So, nobody’s going to do a “…when pigs fly” joke?

  20. A helicopter blade is a lot longer than the officer’s friend, Billy Club.

  21. Assaulting the horses is low, though. Don’t horses technically count as serving police personnel? Is that a hefty charge of assaulting a cop? It’s not cool to take it out on the horses. I like horses. I grew up around horses. There’s my bias right there. I know, I know, compassion for animals is for “libtard statist faggot vegan sjws“, but I can’t think why assaulting the horses would be necessary unless the horses were actually trampling people.

  22. They should have use some fire-fighting choppers filled with that red flame-retardant…..
    makes them easier to ID for arrest later.

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