Totally Tame; Casper Police Made Few Arrests During Eclipse Weekend
For more than a year, local sheriff's, police, fire, health care and other agencies prepared for the worst as they anticipated the tens of thousands of visitors to central Wyoming for the total eclipse of the sun on Monday.
Instead, their hopes for the best panned out.
"Things for the eclipse, during the eclipse, turned out very smooth," Interim Casper Police Chief Steve Schulz said Tuesday.
"Everything turned out well, we didn't have any significant issues or incidents," Schulz said. "And afterwards it was as smooth as it was at the beginning, just a little bit heavier traffic leaving town."
During the weekend, there were three or four arrests for public intoxication and probably not even half of those were related to the eclipse, he said.
Likewise, there were two arrests on Monday for driving under the influence, and those probably weren't eclipse-related, either, Schulz said. He didn't know about DUI incidents over the weekend, he added.
However, two eclipse-watchers from New Jersey were arrested Thursday after allegedly sending themselves marijuana and cocaine through the mail, which led Casper police to find a significant amount of LSD.
Schulz said emergency medical responses were few, too. He remembers one call for a dehydration matter near the library downtown.
"Everybody here was generally behaved," Schulz said. "Everybody was here to look around, see what's going on and enjoy their time here. I don't think anybody here was looking to cause problems or have a negative contact with law enforcement."
The anticipated congestion of crowds downtown didn't happen, in part because eclipse-viewers were scattered around Casper, outside the city, and on Casper Mountain, he said.
Crowds on Saturday and Sunday were large, and those numbers declined on Monday, Schulz said. "Quite honestly, I think we had a lot more people in town, but it just wasn't noticed; we absorbed them so they just fell into place."
Then again, the numbers of eclipse-viewers revealed themselves when they left town and drove bumper-to-bumper on the highways.
The Casper-Natrona County Health Department had coordinated with other health and medical facilities to deal with everything from cut fingers to major accidents.
Amanda Huckabay of the Health Department said she knew of two incidents requiring help. One was a domestic violence incident during the concert in Washington Park on Sunday, and another was about a child with a broken foot.