The aftermath of the unsanctioned University of Guelph homecoming resulted in over 20 additional Guelph Police Services officers deployed at a cost of $36,190, multiple people taken to the hospital and 310 calls for service, Insp. Scott Grover told the police board during a presentation Thursday.
An additional cost of $29,504 was spent on increased resources for the deployment of Project Safe Semester.
After hearing the presentation of the costs associated with the unsanctioned event, Guelph mayor Cam Guthrie said on this matter "enough is enough," and moved to implement a two-part motion for the Guelph Police Services Board to request full reimbursement for the total invoice of police expenses estimated to be $65,000 for impacts both on and off-campus to ensure the safety of students and citizens during project safe semester, homecoming and other unsanctioned gatherings connected to the U of G.
The second part of this motion was to implement a funding arrangement between the services and the U of G, and that funding arrangement is brought back to the board before Sept. 2022.
The motion carried with ease.
The organization began planning for the homecoming in May, anticipating despite the pandemic this would be a traditional-style homecoming.
“It came at a cost of $36,190 to our organization to pay for the additional sworn and civilian members that participated in managing this event,” said Grover.
Due to the length of the event on Chancellors Way, GPS had to assign some of the regularly scheduled operation resources officers to assist in managing the gathering on Sept. 25.
The board was presented with birds-eye view imagery, showing that at 2:47 p.m. Chancellors Way was empty, however, by 4:42 p.m. large gatherings had formed and occupied the roadway, and by 6:32 p.m. the gatherings had grown to an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people.
Grover spoke to notable events, saying the crowd remained until just after 3:30 a.m., with officers laying nearly 50 charges.
“In a typical 24 hour time period, our organization will receive around 200 calls for service, so a 50 per cent increase in calls for service related to the events of Sept. 25,” Grover told the board. “There was also seven individuals taken to the hospital for a range of issues, from being struck in the head by a beer bottle to severe intoxication.”
Of note, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, who was not a student at the U of G, was arrested for shooting fireworks into a crowd and a vehicle’s rear window was smashed.
In a bid to improve the response and approach this from an effective perspective, Grover said they will continue the post-analysis of the event, and assess the best strategies to implement for next year.
Grover said the GPSD is liaisoning with other organizations to determine which strategies are effective when implemented and find economical measures.
“These additional measures will come at a cost to our organization to manage these future unexpected and unsanctioned gatherings, said Grover. “Our organization is also committed to an intelligence lead response to these, and will continue what we can to monitor social media so we are able to effectively and adequately deploy our limited resources to ensure we are able to maintain focus on our vision.”
Through a partnership, campus safety provided GPS with intelligence on the number of individuals heading to Chancellors Way in a bid to anticipate the proper rollout of services.
At this time, GPS does not have a funding relationship with the U of G.