Statement from Mayor Wilczynski and Police Chief Dillon re: Carnival Disorderly Groups

Statement from Mayor Wilczynski and Police Chief Dillon re: Carnival Disorderly Groups

Good afternoon Allendale,
 
Last night, multiple groups of disorderly juveniles caused a disruption at the Guardian Angel Carnival. Both local and out of town adolescents were involved in multiple physical fights and unruly behavior which ruined what was supposed to be an enjoyable night out for families in support of our local church.
 
Juveniles stole from vendors and caused a dangerous condition for innocent families in attendance. Once the carnival was closed down, large groups of juveniles proceeded downtown where they caused damage and stole from local businesses. Allendale Police, assisted by other police agencies, worked to disperse these groups. Other emergency service agencies assisted at the carnival grounds and throughout our downtown district.
 
A substantial amount of non-Allendale kids were involved, however, placing blame solely on those from out of town would be scapegoating as there were Allendale teenagers who were present as well. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is occurring in society more and more. A neighboring community was forced to completely cancel a similar event for the foreseeable future due to civil disorder such as we witnessed last night.
 
As we all digest the events of last night, it is abundantly clear that meaningful changes need to occur. As the police department works to identify and prosecute the people responsible for the disorder, this is the perfect opportunity to have a conversation with your teen. Speak to them about safety in crowds, acting appropriately, and respecting authority. If they see something inappropriate, call the police and if an emergency or disorder arises, leave immediately and follow all instructions given by police. Physical fighting is never an acceptable form of conflict resolution. Unrest like we saw last night can escalate to major violence within a split second. Most of all, speak to them about community; this is OUR town! We all work hard to maintain a healthy environment in which our children may flourish. The daily actions of every resident, regardless of age, foster the town we all want to live in. These conversations are important to have with your teens and pre-teens. Helping them navigate this difficult time in adolescence will pay dividends in the future.

During the carnival tonight, there will be a larger than normal police presence. The areas outside the immediate carnival grounds (field, church property, etc.) will be closed to the public. All areas will be vigorously patrolled and there will be zero-tolerance for disorderly groups.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mayor Amy Wilczynski                              

Police Chief Michael T. Dillon