Student safety is a priority for police

By Samantha Boyle and Gillian Dunlop

The medical amnesty policy is a state and University rule that keeps underaged drinkers from getting a ticket or getting in trouble if they were to call 911. This could become an important policy to remember during Unofficial.

“Let’s say you call 911 and you’ve had a few beers. You’re not going to get in trouble for that because our first focus is really gonna be on getting that person help and we won’t be too concerned with other petty offenses that are going on at that time,” said Patrick Wade, communications director for Division of Public Safety.

During Unofficial, there is an increase of calls, whether that be to the police station or calling an ambulance, Wade said. People also walk into the emergency room more often on this day.

“There’s definitely an increase in activity (on Unofficial), the good news is that it’s been dropping off over the years, and that’s kind of what we’re shooting for,” Wade said.

Even though students may not go to class drunk as much anymore or there’s not as much activity going on as there was five years ago, University of Illinois Police Department, Urbana Police Department and Champaign Police Department all still have a busy day.

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    “We’re going to have a lot more law enforcement on the street that day,” Wade said. “Just like we have done in the past, there’s gonna be a noticeable difference in police presence throughout the day on Unofficial.”

    Wade said in the week leading up to the day of Unofficial, there is an educational effort that takes place. Presentations are given about alcohol and drug awareness as well as giving information about medical amnesty. 

    The Greek community is also preparing for students’ safety.

    Following suit with previous years, fraternities and sororities are not allowed to host social events during Unofficial, with the Interfraternity Council keeping a special eye on fraternities.

    Members of the executive board of IFC will be checking all chapter houses three times a day during Unofficial, said Dan Smith, president of IFC and junior in LAS. They will be looking for a congregation of people or any indication of a social event.

    “It’s to make sure they’re being compliant, nothing is going on and everyone is being safe,” Smith said.

    Members of Greek life are still allowed to participate in Unofficial activities as long as it is outside of fraternity houses. Fraternities, however, are still planning on looking out for their brothers.

    “While we try to regulate it as much as possible, we understand we can’t keep track of everyone,” Smith said. “We ask the chapter provide the same food services and non-alcoholic beverages.”

    Wade said in recent years the Greek community has been extremely cooperative with the police and University during Unofficial.

    “Back in the early days, I know there were some frat parties and there were problems at those frat parties, but in recent years we haven’t had problems at all with students who are involved in Greek life,” he said.

    The IFC is again having a UIPD officer come in to speak about alcohol and drug safety to all of its members, and to go over general expectations.

    “We like to focus on the education side of things, educating our chapters at how to keep members safe in a number of ways,” Smith said.

    Every year the UIPD, CPD, UPD  and county sheriff’s office host a “Walk as One” event which is an opportunity for officers and students to pass out information on alcohol and drug safety prior to Unofficial.

    “This year we had 240 volunteers from sororities and fraternities and they’ve always been super supportive of that event since the day we started doing it,” Wade said. “We really couldn’t do it without them.”

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