Police not worried about real St. Patrick’s Day

By Brittney Nadler

Unlike past years, class is in session on St. Patrick’s Day, but police are not worried that the holiday will compare to Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day on campus.

“I’m somewhat concerned about the fact that while we had Unofficial, we’re still going to have ‘official,’” said University Police Deputy Chief Skip Frost, pointing out that students are normally on spring break during the holiday. “While I’m not overly concerned, I hope not to see large celebrations.”

Frost said the department has not been led to believe any wild parties will happen Monday, but it is still plausible because spring break is only a week away and midterms are largely over.

Urbana police are approaching the situation similarly.

“Traditionally, it hasn’t been too much of a problem in Urbana,” said Urbana South Patrol Commander Robert Fitzgerald.

Urbana police will be staffed as normal with the possible addition of an extra squad car to handle traffic, he said. Urbana normally does not have problems on St. Patrick’s Day, but Fitzgerald said it may be a “little busier,” although they don’t anticipate a growth in calls.

Rene Dunn, spokeswoman for the Champaign Police Department, said everything the department is planning to do for St. Patrick’s Day is outlined in a recent press release.

Police are conducting special patrols to “curb intoxicated driving and enforce seat belt laws,” according to the release. This is particularly important at night when seat belt usage rates are lowest.

Champaign is enforcing the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” campaigns, said Sgt. Joe Ketchem in the release.

If a person is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party, Champaign police encourage the host to make sure guests have designated drivers and to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks as well.

“It may be nothing, especially because it’s a Monday, but it is St. Patrick’s Day, and people do have a tendency to involve themselves in that,” Frost said.

Brittney can be reached at [email protected]