In response to a flurry of activity across the city the night of Feb. 22, Chief of Police Michael Kovacs issued a statement Tuesday about high-speed driving and trespassing on private property by participants in a game called "Capture the Fugitive."
In the statement posted to the city of Bloomfield's Facebook page, Kovacs said he wanted to "notify the public on what some High School students have been doing in and around Bloomfield. There has been a great concern by a few citizens on students running at large around our city."
Capture the Fugitive is a version of a playground standard, hide-and-seek, were one team must pursue and "capture" the other team members before they reach a predetermined location.
Those in pursuit of the "fugitives" use vehicles to try and "capture" the other team by spotting them with a flashlight.
In the process of playing the game, speeding on residential streets and trespassing on private property was reported as the "fugitives" tried to evade capture, Kovacs said.
He said the intention was to let the community know it was not a group of vandals running around the city.
Mayor Scott Eckstein said the city is encouraging the youth to be careful and isn't trying to damper their fun.
"We are not opposed to the kids having a good time," Eckstein said.
Eckstein said the police can only intervene when the youth are committing illegal activities and the police department has their hands tied in what they can do until then.
"We're certainly glad no children got hurt the activities," Eckstein said. "(We) don't want to send the message of discouraging fun but times have changed and people are a little more cautious these days then they were years and years ago.
Kovacs said dispatch received 10 to 12 calls the night of Feb. 22, with complaints of people in the dark with flashlights trespassing on their property.
"We don't encourage our kids to go out and do illegal things," Kovacs said. "We want to make sure if there is any trespassing going on, they need to call us and we'll deal with it."
The police department received one letter from a concerned citizen about a trespassing incident which occurred on their property. And, in an email sent to The Daily Times, one resident said he was concerned a homeowner might used deadly force in what could be misinterpreted as a home invasion.
In the statement, Kovacs states "The City of Bloomfield and the Police Department encourage our youth and the positive interaction with the community. We do not and have not endorsed or encouraged any illegal activities within or around the city."
Kovacs said the safety of the citizens and youth of Bloomfield was a priority for the PD and communication could help prevent an injury or incident from occurring.
"We did this to answer questions to what was going on," Kovacs said. "Just be aware this might happen again and I can't control if it does."
Joshua Kellogg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 564-4627. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt