East Carolina University police to target parties amid COVID-19 pandemic

North Carolina news

GREENVILLE, N.C. (CNN Newsource/WITN) — East Carolina University police said this week they are partnering with Greenville police to patrol areas for student gatherings and parties that could spread COVID-19.

Despite mandates about large gatherings, ECU police say they have already had to shut down 20 student parties. One of the largest was packed with about 400 students, police said.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Although police and neighbors in the area are not shocked by the student parties, both worry about the potential for the virus to be spread at large gatherings.

Ann Maxwell lives beside the ECU Rivers building and near popular student housing.

“It is a major concern for our neighborhood,” she said. “After this weekend I am very concerned that the numbers will rise in Pitt County.”

Campus police have dedicated four of their officers to patrol areas that could be hot spots for parties, officials said.

“This is to ensure that they can go back to having fun [in the future],” ECU Police Capt. Chris Sutton said.

ECU police say they will first give warnings to students who have parties with more than 25 people. If police have return, students could face school-related consequences or even state charges.

Classes start back at ECU on Aug. 24.

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