A local community event, where on Saturday nights residents gather in their vehicles as a way to be together while socially distancing, has blown up in Casper. Hundreds of cars have joined in the weekly ritual, but not all have done so in accordance with the law, according to Casper Mayor Steve Freel and Police Chief Keith McPheeters.
Freel addressed the issue during Tuesday night’s Casper City Council meeting. He said when the weekly cruise event first began, it wasn’t a concern but has since grown into a public nuisance with some participants doing burnouts on the street.
“We didn’t want to take the route of arresting anybody or writing citations on public health orders,” Freel said. “However, since then two more weekends have gone by … last weekend it was flat-out appalling.”
Freel said police officers attempted to quell the disturbances during the last cruise, but were “outnumbered.”
He said those causing a disturbance and vandalizing city streets by doing burnouts with their vehicles will be subject to either citations or arrest in the future. Freel stressed that no citations have been issued and no arrests made yet regarding the issue.
He said he had “no problem paying the overtime” to ensure officers would be able to act on disturbances that happen during this week’s cruise.
Freel stressed he didn’t want to shut down the weekly cruise event, only wanted the destruction of city property to stop.
“This last weekend’s events however crossed the line,” McPheeters said.
He said in police body camera footage motorists can be observed making burnouts on the pavement in the background of the footage as officers deal with a different individual.
“This coming weekend we cannot allow this type of unlawful and blatantly unsafe activity to continue,” McPheeters said.
The Casper Police Department has established a task force to address the issue, and McPheeters said a supervisor, a K-9 officer, a traffic officer and four additional officers have been assigned to police the cruise this coming Saturday.
If anyone is caught violating the law during that cruise, McPheeters said there will be no warnings issued.
“Everything will result in arrest or citation,” he said.
Follow local government reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @morganhwrites
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