Authorities gear up for Unofficial

By Erica Quednau |, Anna Carrera , Anthony Antoine |

Published 03/04 2014 12:22PM

Updated 03/07 2014 05:18PM

Latest: 4:06 pm, 3/7/14, Friday
CHAMPAIGN -- Unofficial is always a busy day for law enforcement in the area, but with the nice weather, Friday was even busier. More than 100 officers from four different departments are patrolling campus. They're focusing on house parties and crowded balconies.

Security from State Farm Center is also watching large classrooms. All the extra manpower, comes at a cost. The UI is looking at $13,000. That's not counting all the overtime put in by other officers.

Taking a look at last year's numbers, more than 100 minors were cited for having alcohol; 75 were cited for having open containers or alcohol in public. Pro Ambulance reported 26 calls with 16 people being taken to the hospital. The entire day added up to about 340 hours of overtime.
Update: 3:58 pm, 3/6/14, Thursday
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- With Unofficial just hours away, UI police are turning to social media to keep people safe. Police expect to see more people on the streets this year than last.

They say turnout usually depends quite a bit on the weather. Last year was cold and rainy, but Friday, it's expected to be sunny and warm. So, police are doing what they can to get the word out to try to keep people safe.

They've put together PSA's featuring UI football players. Those guys say they see all students as their teammates. They're encouraging everyone to be responsible when they're drinking.

Investigators say, since students are on social media already, this seemed like the best way to spread the message. Officers say they've seen more issues at private parties than bars lately.

Most of those who were arrested last year were underage or walking with open containers. There are going to be about 100 officers from various departments on patrol, but if anyone sees something that doesn't look right, they should call police.
Original: 6:00 pm, 3/3/14, Monday
CHAMPAIGN -- Police are taking a zero-tolerance approach to Unofficial St. Patrick's Day. Officials held a joint press conference Monday to discuss their plan of action.

There's always a significant spike in calls during Unofficial. This year, they don't expect it to be any different, especially with decent weather predicted this weekend. But, they will be prepared.

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day isn't encouraged or sanctioned by the UI or city leaders. For that reason, you'll see an increased police presence on and around campus. More than 100 officers from four different departments will be patrolling. They'll pay close attention to house parties and balconies becoming over-crowded.

Any disturbance involving alcohol or misconduct will force police to take action. They're also taking advantage of social media. Friday, officers will tweet messages using hashtags every hour to promote safety. They'll also check to see what students are posting online.

At least five undercover agents will check local bars for underage drinking. Kids participating in Unofficial can call 911 for themselves or friends and they won't be arrested.

Some figures from last year's Unofficial; more than 100 minors were cited for possessing alcohol, 75 people were ticketed for open alcohol containers or public possession, Pro Ambulance reported 26 calls resulting in 16 transports to the hospital and police clocked almost 340 hours of overtime.

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