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Law Enforcement Out in Full Force for 35th Foxfield Spring Races - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Law Enforcement Out in Full Force for 35th Foxfield Spring Races

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Many people around the track were there to reunite with friends and have some fun with adult beverages in hand. Many people around the track were there to reunite with friends and have some fun with adult beverages in hand.

Horses are supposed to be the main attraction at the Foxfield Spring Races, but with alcohol flowing, law enforcement and safety groups tried to prevent the party from ending dangerously Saturday.

More than 20,000 people packed the track for the spring tradition that's popular with University of Virginia students and alums. Hundreds of police officers were out there with them to make the day at the races as safe as possible.

The scene could be described as controlled chaos - with thousands of spectators setting up around a series of five horse races.

 "As you get older, you see more and more horses," race attendee Kendall Wallace said.

But many people around the track were there to reunite with friends and have some fun with adult beverages in hand.

"We got together from different states and met up at Foxfield," attendee Michelle Henry said.

"Seeing all the people, like having all your friends come back and celebrate my birthday it's the greatest," attendee Laura Beam said.

Albemarle County police set up three different command centers around the track to manage the Foxfield crowd. About 200 officers patrolled the area on foot, bike and small vehicles to stop the celebrations from getting out of hand.

"Drunk in public is probably the most common offense we see here at the Foxfield Races and so when an officer sees someone who is too intoxicated, then they'll make an arrest right there and we're fortunate to have a video link with the magistrate's office," said Carter Johnson, spokesperson for the Albemarle County police. "So as soon as they're arrested they're taken and by video they are able to have a probable cause hearing right away with the magistrate's office."

After an arrestee goes through the probable cause hearing with the magistrate's office, a warrant is then issued and the individual is charged. The arrestee is then transported to the regional jail.

Johnson said, "Typically when you're arrested for DIP or an offense that involves alcohol, you are held without bond, which is a safety issue. So you're held until you're able to sober up and make it home safely."

University of Virginia students the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) were also camped out in a central area at Foxfield. They handed out free snacks, water and sunscreen throughout the day.

"It's really nice to know that we are there for them as kind of a lifeline and as the day has been picking up, we had a lot of people come back for more food and stuff like that," ADAPT member Hawa Ahmed said.

The track brought in another 200 private security staff - making it a team effort to ensure a safe day at the races.

"We do have officers positioned all throughout the facility really to monitor and make sure that everyone is safe, and we have a lot of medical staff on hand as well, so everyone is kind of working together to make sure that the event does go off and that everyone is as safe as possible while attending," Johnson said.

Last year, officers arrested more than 50 people. The majority of the arrests were for public intoxication. Other charges included possessing a fake ID and underage possession of alcohol.

Albemarle County police says they are still processing this year's numbers, but confirm they've made 37 arrests on 40 charges so far. They've also issued 61 traffic summonses and had one person be charged with a DUI. Most of the arrests are for drunk in public charges.  There are three narcotic arrests and one felony for possession of cocaine. 

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