With Cortaca Jug one week away, Cortland police prepare for the worst

(photo: @SUNYCortland607/Twitter)

CORTLAND, N.Y. – For the past month, the city of Cortland Police Department has been been holding meetings with local stakeholders and communicating with state officials to ensure that the riots that broke out during the 2013 Cortaca weekend do not happen again.

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The annual rivalry football game between SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College will be played at Buttermilk Stadium on Sat., Nov. 14 at 12 p.m.

The fact that the game will be played in Ithaca does not give police any reassurance: Most Cortland residents will recall that the partying, rioting and mayhem that happened in 2013 took place while the game was hosted at Ithaca College – and began before the game was even over:

The aftermath of the event prompted the formation of a Cortaca Commission, and many residents called on the city to ban the rivalry game altogether. Eventually, the commission agreed to keep the tradition alive as long as preventive measures were put in place for future games.

In 2014, Cortland hosted the game, and things were kept in check due to a large police presence.

This year, the city of Cortland Police Department says it is once again taking a proactive approach to its enforcement efforts and will focus on Clayton Avenue and other off-campus housing areas.

"Plans are in place to discourage any house parties from occurring and to arrest any resident responsible for hosting a nuisance party," police said in a press release Friday.

Police plan to enforce the city's Social Host law, which holds adults responsible for hosting a party where underage drinking takes place. Officers also plan to heavily enforce the city's ordinances related to noise, littering and underage drinking.

Preparations have been ongoing. Last weekend, city police and investigators from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles carried out a sting operation at local bars and taverns. 13 people were ticketed were using fake IDs to obtain alcohol, 11 of which were college students. That followed a sting operation that took place in August and, unsurprisingly, additional stings will take place over the Cortaca Jug weekend.

This year, city police will have help from the Cortland County Sheriff's Department, SUNY Cortland Police Department, the New York State Liquor Authority, the New York State DMV Enforcement Decision, the New York State Office of Emergency Management, and undercover agents, all in an effort to maintain order.

Police do say they recognize that much of the damage that took place in 2013 could be blamed on an influx of weekend visitors: 80 people were arrested that weekend, but SUNY Cortland officials said only 19 of them were college students.

"The Police Department realizes that SUNY Cortland students were not responsible for a majority of the mayhem that occurred during the 2013 Cortaca weekend. We recognize however that a vast majority of the disorder was caused by friends and guests visiting SUNY Cortland students who reside off campus," police said in the release.

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