Local authorities are attempting to draw a bright line around unacceptable behaviors at next weekend’s Fake Patty’s Day events that are likely to land participants in legal trouble.
City and police officials on Friday posted a nearly two-page list of warnings and cautions to prospective party-goers on the city’s website. The document specifically cited 17 violations of state law or municipal ordinance, and included this advisory in capital letters:
“ANYONE WHO COMMITS THE ABOVE OFFENSES IS SUBJECT TO PHYSICAL ARREST AND MAY BE REQUIRED TO APPEAR IN COURT.”
The county’s top law enforcement officer said enforcement plans are identical to last year’s; the advance publicity appeared designed to discourage problematic behavior rather than suggest a tougher approach.
“We are after compliance,” said RCPD director Brad Schoen. “There are certain things that we will have zero tolerance for, but just like last year, it will be things that involve public safety.”
Although authorities didn’t put it in precisely those terms, the 17 specified problems appeared to amount to a list of the most common problems from years past. That list included:
Minor in possession of alcoholic beverages.
Open container (21 years or older).
Transporting an open container.
Intoxicated pedestrian in the street.
Furnishing alcohol to a minor.
Various ID offenses.
Possession of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia.
Urinating and/or defecating in public.
Those offenses carry various legal penalties for the most part involving fines, although some can also involve jail time.
The website posting warned “those who intend to overindulge in alcohol, abandon personal responsibility and commit crimes” that “all state and local laws will be enforced” Saturday.
City manager Ron Fehr noted that a command post is in the process of being established at the City Park ice rink, which is shut down for the season, and it will be fully operational Saturday. “We will do our best to keep things orderly,” he said.
Schoen acknowledged that authorities’ ability to respond to violations may be limited by the number of officers and the number of violators. “ Clearly, we are in a position that we will not tolerate any sort of fighting or any outrageous behavior that might lead to people being injured,” he said. “ “It’s a case where it’s not possible to catch all the fish in the sea that day, but that doesn’t mean you ignore all the fish either.
He and Fehr agreed that the system employed last year seemed to work well. Schoen characterized it as “Enforcement oriented, but at the same time willing to work with people.” He added that authorities understand some participants don’t know the rules. “I, myself, ran into three or four people from out of town last year. And it was, “Ok, come on. You can’t do that here. Pour it out.” And they were like, “Oh.”
At the same time, he added that the event’s age makes it less likely that participants would be unfamiliar with behavior standards. “The officers have discretion in those matters,” he said.