Pokémon a no-GO for SIU police event

Lt.+Ryan+House%2C+left%2C+and+Officer+Molly+Pyatt+of+the+SIU+Police+Department+converse+as+they+depart+from+Shryock+Auditorium+following+a+zero-person+turnout+for+the+departments+rescheduled+Pok%C3%A9mon+with+the+Police+event+Monday%2C+Aug.+22%2C+2016%2C+in+Carbondale.+We+were+afraid+this+might+happen%2C+House+said.+We+had+a+lot+of+hits+on+social+media+for+the+last+one%2C+but+hardly+any+for+this+%5Bevent%5D.+%28Ryan+Michalesko+%7C+%40photosbylesko%29

Lt. Ryan House, left, and Officer Molly Pyatt of the SIU Police Department converse as they depart from Shryock Auditorium following a zero-person turnout for the department’s rescheduled Pokémon with the Police event Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, in Carbondale. “We were afraid this might happen,” House said. “We had a lot of hits on social media for the last one, but hardly any for this [event].” (Ryan Michalesko | @photosbylesko)

By Diamond Jones

SIU police were forced to cancel a Pokémon GO hunting expedition Monday afternoon after no students came to participate.

Because of the lack of turnout, “Pokémon with the Police” has been rescheduled for late September. The event, which was previously postponed because of rain, was designed to be an opportunity for SIU police officers to interact with students and the community through the popular video game.

“We knew with the previous rescheduling and social media traffic, there was a setback and we were curious about the reception of it being the first day of school,” said Lt. Ryan House, who volunteered to tour the campus with students in search of Pokémon.

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House said he isn’t very inclined with technology but caught on to the idea of Pokémon GO through the younger crowd of officers in the department.

“Our goal was to have an informal interaction with the students to promote positive police and community relations,” House said.

Just weeks after the game was released, several major media outlets reported incidents of theft and trespassing related to the augmented reality video game. House said the department planned to give cards to students with information on how to stay safe while playing.

“The game is interesting,” House said. “As long as you’re doing it safely, it gets people out and in their community, which enhances more activity.”

Pokémon GO. (Niantic, Inc.)
Pokémon GO. (Niantic, Inc.)

The rescheduled event will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 26 outside Shryock Auditorium, House said. Gift cards for a free shake and iced tea from Blend Tea and Crepe will be given to the first 20 participants, he said.

House said he wants students to see officers interacting with the campus community so students feel comfortable as they settle in at the university.

“As police officers, we’re people too,” House said. “We do the same things others do and we enjoy having fun just as the next person.”

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Staff writer Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected].

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