Police report seeing fewer Unofficial celebrators

Michael Logli

Michael Logli

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Forty-seven citations have been issued as of 7:30 p.m. Friday for underage drinking or possession of alcohol and 150 vehicles have been taken into possession, Champaign police said at a media briefing. Of those cited, police said many were from out-of-state.

No injuries or hospitalizations have been reported.

Police said they have seen less people out, especially into the later hours of the day, but were unsure of exactly why that might be.

In order to curb underage drinking in apartments and houses, Champaign police sent covert details into various parties. A group of undercover minors sent into two separate parties led to arrests.

Many bars have set restrictions for the weekend in an effort to limit underage consumption of alcohol. Some campus bars have raised the price of cover for underage patrons, while others have raised the age to enter the bar.

Joe’s Brewery, 706 S. Fifth St., Kam’s, 618 E. Daniel St. and Green Street Cafe, 35 E. Green St., chose to only allow patrons 21 and over into their bars Friday, in an effort to help local officials. Joe’s is extending the restriction until Saturday.

The Irish Illini sent an email to its members Thursday about Joe’s new restriction. Pressure from city and state liquor officials caused the owner of Joe’s to make the decision late in the week, according to the email.

When some of Joe’s management asked state and local officials how the bar could help Friday and Saturday, the officials said the best thing to do was not allow underage patrons into the bar, Chris Lauschke, manager at Joe’s said.

“We won’t be dealing with the same issues as the other bars,” he said.

The decision was made on such short notice because every day there were new articles talking about increasing restrictions on Unofficial activities, Lauschke said, which made Joe’s owner and management think about how they can help local officials more.

Police and fire teams will be doing occupancy checks at the bars throughout the weekend.

Thursday night leading up to Unofficial, Deputy Police Chief Holly Nearing said it was more like “a typical Friday night” with more alcohol-related police calls than usual, but nothing unexpected.

At the press conference, officials said city employees will be videotaping in public places on Friday. The taping will begin at 8a.m. Friday and continue until 3 a.m. Saturday in public intersections. Police have not said whether this could lead to future arrests.

Pamela Nisivaco, Eric Steckling and Obaid Sarvana contributed to this report.