Police plan stepped up enforcement for St. Patty's Day
Additional officers will patrol Main Street, conduct DUI checks
Published: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011 01:03
As green-clad partygoers flock to off-campus bars and houses this Saturday and next Thursday, university and local law enforcement officers will attempt to mitigate the risks of celtic-themed shenanigans.
University Police Chief Patrick Ogden said the department will have approximately 15 officers on duty Saturday and on the official St. Patrick's Day holiday on Thursday to police alcohol-related crime.
"We just want to make sure that everyone is safe, and we're realistic to know that on these days people are going to go out, and they're going to celebrate, and some of them are going to have too much to drink," Ogden said.
The department typically schedules a double shift of officers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the school year. The community resources unit, whose seven officers patrol on bicycle, will provide an additional police presence on Saturday and Thursday, he said.
A federal grant from the Office of Highway Safety will fund the assignment of additional university officers targeting underage consumption and possession of alcohol, Ogden said.
"We're not out there hiding in the bushes, waiting for a kid with a red cup to walk by," Ogden said. "We're really in the public safety business where we're trying to be the preventers of crime."
He said the department is coordinating its St. Patrick's Day enforcement strategy with Newark police, assigning officers to areas where alcohol-related crime is likely to occur.
"On St. Patrick's Day in particular, Kildare's is a big place where a lot of students like to go, because it's kind of an Irish-themed bar," Ogden said. "So we'll try to coordinate our efforts with the Newark police to make sure that we have a lot of officers saturated in the area to try and keep people safe."
Approximately six Newark police officers will be assigned to foot patrol on Main Street all day and night on both Saturday and Thursday, said spokesman Lt. Gerald Bryda.
In addition, Newark officers will be conducting DUI saturation patrols, Bryda said.
Similar to the university's underage drinking officers, these patrols are funded by the Office of Highway Safety to provide increased police presence on St. Patrick's Day and other drinking-intensive holidays, he said.
"We will have about a half a dozen officers out there assigned to DUI patrols," Bryda said. "That's obviously above and beyond the normal amount that are doing that."