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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Few crimes reported Hoopfest weekend as DUI arrests stay consistent with past competitions

Hoopfest players finish their games for the day along Riverside Avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022. Law enforcement reported few criminal incidents in Hoopfest's return to downtown streets for 2022.   (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN)
By Julien A. Luebbers The Spokesman-Review

Few crimes were reported this weekend as Hoopfest brought thousands of visitors downtown for the first time in three years.

Representatives of both the Spokane Police Department and Washington State Patrol said they were pleased with the results over the weekend.

“We didn’t have a lot of problems,” said Julie Humphreys, spokesperson for Spokane Police. “People seemed to get out and enjoy themselves and behave themselves as well.”

There were a small number of physical altercations each day on the court, but they were resolved either by Hoopfest volunteers or the presence of officers. In these situations, no enforcement was required.

“People get upset about fouls or scoring” Humphreys said. “The Hoopfest volunteers, they were very communicative with us, and if they sensed a potential problem they would tag us right away.” Almost every time, “the officers show up and the situation de-escalates right away,” Humphreys said.

Two juveniles were arrested on suspicion of theft. In one case, a juvenile swiped a wallet left on the bank of the Spokane River, which was recovered. That person was apprehended later that evening when authorities say they were involved in another crime.

Another juvenile attempted to steal a vendor’s cash box, according to Humphreys, and was apprehended quickly when the vendor notified the police. Two juveniles were also referred to juvenile services for obstruction.

The names of the suspects were not released.

On the roads, officers from both the police department and Washington State Patrol were conducting emphasis patrols throughout the weekend.

According to the WSP, that agency made 18 DUI arrests over the weekend. That’s the same number of arrests the WSP made in 2019, the last time the event was held before the global COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation.

By contrast, the would-be Hoopfest weekend for 2021, June 25-27, saw just five DUI arrests by the State Patrol.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission publicized ahead of the weekend there would be an increase in safety patrols on I-90 from Snoqualmie Pass to Spokane, focusing on “illegal driving behaviors.”

The WSP used its Mobile Impaired Driving Unit, which, according to Sgt. Greg Riddell of the Washington State Patrol, allows officers to fill out probable cause statements, turn over the suspects to other troopers and quickly head back out to patrol.

“When they bring in that mobile unit, it makes things a lot more streamlined,” said Humphreys. “They have nurses to do blood draws, they have correction officers and make it run like clockwork.”

Riddell said the influx of people for Hoopfest increases the number of drunken drivers. Across all local agencies, the total number of DUI arrests at the Mobile Unit was 33.

“It was refreshing,” Riddell concluded. “We only had one instance, a vehicular assault, and we didn’t have any other serious collisions or any fatal (instances). That was the biggest plus.”