Local law enforcement agencies combine efforts, add extra officers

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Local law enforcement agencies will combine efforts on Friday to help monitor campus and respond to the historically high number of reports on Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, according to University Police Department Capt. Roy Acree.

The Champaign, Urbana, University, Champaign County and Illinois State police departments will have a combined 100 extra officers in the field, Acree said.

“We’re going to be using a combination of uniformed and plain-clothes officers,” Acree said, adding that the departments will have “high visibility of police officers on foot and in squad cars.”

“It’s very similar to the same ops plan we have used in the past,” he said.

This plan has yielded a high number of arrests over the past five years, but it has also cost the various departments a significant amount of money.

For example, Illinois State Police, which is charged with monitoring traffic on campus, spent the most money — $21,180 in 2013.

The Champaign Police Department, which has yielded the highest number of arrests in each of the past five years, spent $16,947.33 on 336.92 overtime hours last year.

The department was awarded a nearly $6,000 grant by Community Elements, Inc. to help provide the department with extra financial support this year. To receive the grant, the department agreed to perform 38 compliance checks, hire covert units and train two new Training for Intervention Procedures trainers.

“If we have weather on Friday that’s supposed to be (around) 50 degrees from what I understand, it’s usually a madhouse,” Champaign Police Detective Joe Ketchem told The Daily Illini on Tuesday. “There will be parties all over the place, there will be intoxicated people at bars, people trying to get into the bars that aren’t supposed to.”

The University will also use State Farm Center security officers to monitor large classrooms, many of which will also have bag checks to make sure students are not bringing alcohol to class.

In addition to the police reserves, the Champaign Fire Department plans on having four extra firefighters on duty Friday, said Dave Ferber, acting fire chief. Two firefighters will be assigned to the Life Safety Division — whose responsibilities include conducting bar and balcony checks — while the other two firefighters will be assigned to the Suppression Division, which responds to dispatch.