The Riley County Law Board got their opportunity Monday to weigh in on efforts made by the Riley County Police Department during Fake Patty’s Day activities on March 2.

As previously reported, this year’s event saw an uptick in arrests and citations, as RCPD made a concerted effort to control some of the large gatherings east of campus. Capt. Greg Steere stated the police department doesn’t see the day as a success, noting there were still instances of violence which led to injuries to officers and civilians.

“Just based solely on the crime that occurred and some of the inappropriate behavior that we saw in our community throughout the day, we don’t take any measure of satisfaction in that, we can always do better,” he said.

The board largely praised RCPD’s efforts to keep and maintain order, despite a high number of arrests and citations. The board discussed ways of possibly deterring some of the drunken behavior, including a suggestion of moving the St. Patrick’s Day road race and parade to Fake Patty’s Day. Assistant RCPD Director Kurt Moldrup says the idea is good in theory.

“Planning activities on that day may help in some respects, but it will require resources. I absolutely agree that the crowd that comes for Fake Patty’s Day, there’s something about it that is rebellious, it’s out of the box and this year they all go to Ratone (Street),” he said.

Board member and Manhattan Mayor Wynn Butler says moving it’s a risky proposal, but worth a discussion.

“It would be interesting to say there isn’t going to be a Fake Patty’s Day, there’s only going to be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration and it’s going to be on this day instead of normal St. Patrick’s Day, and see if it can be re-framed from what it is now, which is a cultural drunk fest in my mind. I don’t know if that’s possible. There’s a risk there. We’d be rolling the dice on that,” he said.

Board member Kaleb James was skeptical moving events would do much to deter students and cautioned against RCPD using authoritarian public messaging.

“I don’t really care if they have a Fake Patty’s Day or not, as long as they’re behaving appropriately and aren’t breaking the law. I do want to be careful about what we’re telling the public and what we’re telling people and businesses in the city that when they have events, we’ll decide if we’re coming down with an iron fist or not,” he said.

RCPD saw an uptick in the number of arrests and citations issued this year. Full data from Fake Patty’s Day can be found below.

2024 Fake Pattys Day Report . EXTERNAL REPORT

In other business Monday, RCPD noted it has entered the final stages of its agreement process to implement license plate reader technology in Manhattan.

The Law Board approved a measure in December supporting these upgrades which the department believes will benefit criminal investigations. Capt. Erin Freidline gave recent examples where the technology aided a couple incidents police were actively investigating.

“We recently had a stabbing incident, where we were able to understand what kind of vehicle the individual was in and even got a license plate on that and was able to put that in the license plate reader network that’s in our surrounding communities and that individual was able to be tracked and apprehended in Wichita,” she said.

She also says the technology helped track down a suspect engaging in inappropriate behavior with a minor, as police tracked how many times that individual had come into town to visit the minor.

“We have people that come into our community and sometimes not for good intentions and also sometimes people do something and they’re going to flee our community, so trying to be able to apprehend them before they continue to commit any other further violence is important to us,” she said.

Freidline says the cameras will take pictures and won’t be an active live video surveillance of activity.

RCPD has purchased 11 cameras, including 10 which will be placed along the outskirts of town, along main thoroughfares and in and out of the community, though exact locations of where these will be placed wasn’t specified. RCPD plans to install at least one camera in Aggieville. The total cost per camera is about $3,000, or about $33,000 annually.

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