RCPD releases Fake Patty’s Day statistics

(Graphic by Audrey Hockersmith)

Another year of Fake Patty’s Day festivities is in the books and once again, law enforcement officers had their work cut out for them.

From 7 p.m. March 4 to 6 a.m. March 6, law enforcement received 269 service calls from citizens and arrested 63 subjects, according a press release from the Riley County Police Department. Officers issued 596 citations for offenses, including 79 for minors in possession and 295 for possession of an open container.

Mat Droge, RCPD public information officer, said every Riley County officer was required to work Fake Patty’s Day along with the help of several outside agencies from as far away as Hays, Kansas. On Saturday, Droge was on call at the command post, which was temporarily located at the ice rink in Manhattan City Park for the holiday.

Droge said that while it was a busy day, nothing occurred that was too out of the ordinary compared to past years. He said he hopes these statistics can help educate students so in the future they are more conscious of the choices they make when drinking.

“It comes down to safety,” Droge said. “This is an event that promotes over-intoxication, which is more dangerous than I think a lot of people that participate give it credit.”

Droge said the department recognizes that many people participate in Fake Patty’s Day responsibly, and officers have no problem with those scenarios.

“If you want to hang out on your front yard and drink a beer, you’re of legal age and you want to play lawn darts, go right ahead,” Droge said. “We don’t care at all. Have fun. We just don’t want anyone hurt. That’s really our biggest concern.”

Jared Erpelding, senior in economics, spent his Fake Patty’s Day serving the community as well, but his contribution was a bit different than Droge’s.

Erpelding bartended at Johnny Kaw’s Sports Bar in Aggieville on Saturday. This was Erpelding’s first year working the holiday rather than partaking in it, and he said the transition was “pretty wild.”

“From when I came in at 1 p.m. and left at 2 a.m., there was maybe a slight lull period around 2 in the afternoon,” Erpelding said. “But other than that it was pretty busy that entire time. There were times when I was just overwhelmed.”

Erpelding said it was like hosting a typical Saturday night crowd throughout the duration of an entire day. He said he was amazed he got through the day between the drink orders, minor scuffles and a cash cannon that hurled dollar bills into groups of intoxicated college students.

Lucas Downes, junior in architecture, said he ventured into Aggieville with a few friends at 9 a.m. on Saturday in an effort to avoid the large crowds. He said they started their morning at Kite’s Bar and Grill, but it was not too long until they were met with a swarm of fellow Fakers.

“At 9 it’s actually not too busy,” Downes said. “I think it was about 11 when Kite’s started getting packed. Out on the patio area it was pretty much shoulder to shoulder.”

Downes said even though it was early, there were already several cops lining the streets of Aggieville. He said that having this high level of law enforcement has an influence on the way people act, but he believes that as people drink more, they begin to care less.

“I think at that point, people are aware of the cops, but they don’t really think about the consequences,” Downes said. “People are probably going to do what they want to do.”

Droge said from his perspective, RCPD puts out a lot of information regarding health and safety to get people thinking about those consequences. He said even if only one or two people respond to this information in a positive way, then it’s worth it.

“I think that to be a good law enforcement agency you can’t just enforce the law,” Droge said. “I think you have to take some steps to educate the community on things that can help them stay safer, things that can keep them out of trouble. I think that just goes into being a transparent agency, and at RCPD we are transparent and we want to remain that way.”