The forecast for Saturday may call for rain, sleet, and temperatures in the mid 30s, but that may not stop college students and other party-goers from causing a conundrum for the Riley County Police Department. While Captain Josh Kyle said the event is largely weather dependent, the department and 12 others will not hold back in their means of enforcement.
Last Fake Patty’s Day, held on March 5, saw temperatures reach an unseasonably warm 69 degrees. Along with the high temperatures came a high number of citations. The department had more than 360 calls for service last year along with a record number of alcohol violations. Disorderly conduct citations were down, although Kyle said the department did issue more arrests for disorderly conduct in 2016 than years past. A whopping 106 police reports were filed by officers last FPD with nearly 600 citations issued. Kyle said the department uses 2013 as the benchmark for their records, as it was the first year the department began keeping track.
Kyle suggested the uptick in debauchery could have also stemmed from the department’s means of enforcement. 2015 was a cold day for Fake Patty’s, but Kyle mentioned that year officers deployed throughout town on Utility Recreational Vehicles to further their means of enforcement. That method was scaled back to one UTV per patrol area last year.
“Not only was the weather an influence, how we deployed our officers was an influence as well,” Kyle said.
Twelve other law enforcement agencies will be in town, which include the regional drug task force, Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. At a Riley County Law Enforcement Board meeting last month, Captain Kyle voiced his concern in the rise of drug use the event has seen in recent years. Undercover officers will be dispersed throughout the areas around Aggieville to keep track of illicit drug use and prevent overdoses, which Kyle said last month have become a concern.
No meteorologist or officer may be able to predict the weather, but public information officer Alexander Robinson said the department plans to execute their operations the same — rain or shine.
“We won’t be changing any of our operational settings, we’ll be out in full force,” said Robinson. “We expect the students and other people partying to be out in full force, as well. It may just mean some of those parties may move from outdoors to indoors.”
Kyle said Aggieville in recent years has become a popular destination after 11 p.m., while students tend to stick to house parties during the afternoon and evening. While the department is prepared to crack down on alcohol consumption, drug use, and disorderly conduct, Kyle said plenty of officers will be out patrolling the greater community. It is likely they may be more busy than officers around Aggieville.