Fake Patty’s and transparency lead at Law Board meeting

Reviewing his notes, RCPD Capt. Richard Fink continues to go over the protocol for the annual Fake Patty’s Day celebration. On Tuesday, the monthly Riley County Law Board met at City Hall. (Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

The Riley County Police Department shared details of plans for this year’s Fake Patty’s Day during the Riley County Law Board meeting Tuesday.

Capt. Richard Fink said the RCPD has been working in conjunction with the Aggieville Business Association and Kansas State to move people out of house parties and into Aggieville so law enforcement can monitor the use of alcohol more closely. Personnel will also be dedicated to four neighborhoods bordering the bar district to prevent people from bringing open containers into public spaces.

“It’s not a day that you can walk around with alcohol; nothing changes,” Capt. Tim Hegarty said. “Students are often surprised walking down the street with their alcohol that they can’t do that because it’s a special day.”

Fink said 68 officers will be on duty March 10 to oversee what Aggieville’s website calls “a day full of fun, friends and fond memories.” The Emporia, Kansas State and Lawrence police departments and the Lyon County and Pottawatomie County sheriff departments will provide support in the form of extra officers.

The RCPD will have a processing center and command post set up in City Park. EMS will have personnel and a first aid station nearby as well.

“We’re going to have a lot of officers,” Fink said. “We are going to be everywhere the event is taking place and everywhere it’s not taking place.”

Over the course of the last five Fake Patty’s Day celebrations, police cited 70 DUIs, 41 incidents of unlawful possession of alcohol and 33 illegal drug cases, Fink said.

During the meeting’s public comments, a former RCPD employee pushed for a more transparent director of the RCPD. The current director, Brad Schoen, announced his retirement earlier this month.

Aaron Wright requested the board emphasize the value of transparency during their search for a new director.

“The board needs to be certain the next director understands the true meaning of transparency, and that person should not pick and choose when to be transparent with board members and/or the public,” Wright said.

Wright also said the next director should take employee warnings and violations more seriously.

“They should not protect an employee and threaten others to quiet their warnings, only to find out that particular employee has been stealing evidence and committing various other violations,” Wright said.

Wright ended with a request that the new director treat all employees fairly.

“Our goal is to get the very best person we can that will fit with RCPD,” Chairman Craig Beardsley said.

The board plans to be very active in the selection process and involve the public in the search.