Police prepare safety measures for Fake Patty’s Day

One of Manhattan's well-known traditions that attract people from across the country is the celebration of Fake Patty's Day. With safety as top priority, Riley County Police Department has teamed up with multiple other enforcement agencies to ensure a fun and safe environment for all guests. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

With Fake Patty’s Day bringing in people from across the country, the Riley County Police Department spends a lot of time preparing and implementing safety measures to ensure the Manhattan’s wildest weekend of the year goes off without a hitch.

“We’ve developed a plan to address the major issues, and that plan seems to be helping us minimize the serious things that could potentially happen,” Matthew Droge, RCPD public information officer, said.

One of the main tactics that RCPD uses is collaboration with other law enforcement agencies. In 2014, the Junction City Police Department, Emporia Police Department, Pottawatomie County’s Sheriff’s Office, Lyon County’s Sheriff’s Office, Hays Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol were all present for Fake Patty’s Day.

“With all these agencies (the fire department, EMS, emergency management and the city) working together, we’ve developed a plan that is working,” Droge said. “It is a lot of work. It is months and months and months of work that goes into one day. But if we didn’t do it, not saying there would be, but there would be the potential for serious and bad things to occur.”

With the extra help, it is easier to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

“Their help is really what allows us to keep the peace at what it is,” Droge said. “Obviously we can’t prevent everything, but last year’s citizens complaints went down by about 50 or so calls.”

Sgt. Matt Paquette of the Junction City Police Department said that one of the main reasons they are there, is to “double their (RCPD) force.”

Another advantage of getting outside agencies’ help is that the presence of more officers “deters crime,” Paquette said.

“The more officers you have, the less crime goes up,” Paquette said.

The RCPD’s preparation for Fake Patty’s Day also includes creating a command center in Manhattan City Park to hold criminals until they can be taken down to the jail.

The command center also serves as a central location for all departments involved.

Additionally, RCPD Patrol Capt. Josh Kyle has met with the Aggieville Business Association to meet with the bars and help prepare them for the weekend. One way the association and the RCPD is working together is by having all businesses file for a permit. This allows the RCPD to have a running tally of all the businesses involved and keep an eye on what happens in Aggieville.

Both Kyle and the association have agreed that there are to be no open containers in the streets.

This is the first year the Aggieville Business Association is sponsoring events for Fake Patty’s Day. With the help of the RCPD, the association is ensuring businesses know about safety procedures and what to expect from participants.

According to Kyle, there is limited parking in Aggieville and “City Park is closed to traffic.”

Despite all the preparation that goes into this weekend, it is still vital participants know how to keep themselves safe. The following are some tips from Droge, Paquette and Kyle on how to stay safe during the “holiday:”

  • Educate yourself on the
    laws; there are no free passes on Fake Patty’s Day.
  • Eat food, drink plenty of
    water and control how fast and how much alcohol you put into your body.
  • Don’t drink in excess. You
    should always be able to remember your home address; if you do not know
    your address, you are too drunk.
  • Use public transportation
    and educate yourself on what is available.
  • Do not get into a vehicle if
    the person driving has been drinking.
  • Use the buddy system.

Lastly, remember not to be afraid of calling the police. They are not villains that are only out to arrest people breaking the law on Fake Patty’s Day.

The preparations that are put in place on Fake Patty’s Day are to keep the participants and the community safe. So stay hydrated, eat food, don’t be afraid to call 911 and most importantly, educate yourself on Manhattan’s laws.

“If you are of legal age to drink and you can do it responsibly without putting yourself or others in danger or breaking the law, have fun,” Droge said.