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State Patty's Day Arrests, Police Calls Reach New Highs

on March 02, 2011 11:18 AM

UPDATED @ 11:18 a.m. Wednesday: The state police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement conducted undercover and uniformed patrols and found no liquor-law violations in State College's licensed establishments over the State Patty's Day weekend, police said Tuesday.

"We made undercover visits to nearly every bar" that was open, state police Sgt. Wayne Bush said. "What we found was, the bars that remained open were doing things right. ... The bars were really, really making the effort."

He joked that if State College bars operated that way every night, "I'd be out of a job," he said.

"State Patty's Day is a blight, and it's never brought any good press to State College," Bush said. "I think those bars that went the extra lengths were trying to break the back of this made-up boozing day."

At least eight State College bars served no alcohol Saturday, designated the fifth annual unsanctioned State Patty's Day drinking holiday. A number of other bars closed early.

Those that did business Saturday "offered no drink specials, little to any sales of mixed drinks or liquor, voluntarily operated 20 percent to 50 percent under maximum capacity and strictly enforced standards for visibly intoxicated persons, with patrons being removed at the first indications of intoxication," a state-police press release reads.

Police also reported that establishments confiscated a number of false identification cards. Many will be used in follow-up investigations, according to the press release.

Earlier coverage is posted below.

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Earlier report, posted @ 12:33 a.m. Tuesday:

State Patty's Day 2011 was indeed the busiest State Patty's yet for State College police, who made 234 criminal arrests over the unsanctioned drinking-holiday weekend, the department reported Monday.

Borough police made 160 arrests during State Patty's Day weekend last year.

Overall calls for borough police service grew this year, too, climbing to 480 from last year's total of 365, police said.

Incident reports for the period -- from noon Friday through noon Sunday -- include 14 DUI arrests, 14 alcohol overdoses requiring treatment at Mount Nittany Medical Center, and 34 disorderly people.

The reports also include 65 open-container violations, 51 underage-drinking incidents, 24 loud-party and other noise calls, 20 public-drunkenness cases, 11 instances of public urination and 10 reports of fighting.

Borough police emphasized that the figures are those recorded by their department only -- and do not include enforcement actions taken in the borough by visiting agencies, including the state police.

One of those other agencies -- the Centre County Alcohol Task Force -- reported having initiated nine DUI cases, two drug-possession cases, 29 traffic citations, 39 non-traffic citations and 115 warnings over the weekend. All of the non-traffic citations were alcohol-related, according to the task force.

"By comparison, this year's State Patty's Day weekend was clearly busier from a police standpoint, and by all observations, more people participated in the event," borough police wrote in a news release.

It was not immediately clear exactly how many of the police-reported incidents involved people from outside the State College area. Preliminarily, police have said it appears that many involved out-of-towners.

In the news release, meanwhile, police Chief Tom King specifically thanked all liquor-licensed establishments in the borough that chose to close Saturday, designated the fifth annual State Patty's Day.

"Undoubtedly, they lost a significant amount of revenue in making this decision, but we believe it was very positive in sending a message that this very troublesome event is not healthy for State College and (the) Penn State community," King wrote. "We urge community members to pass along your appreciation to the borough liquor-licensed establishments and one borough beer distributor (Nittany Beverage) who made this decision for the good of the overall community."

The rest of the release reads as follows:

"We also want to recognize that the liquor-license establishments that did open but employed sound business practices to discourage dangerous drinking. Specifically, most of those opened establishments had cover charges all day, offered no discounted drink specials, had no green beer or other State Patty’s Day promotions, did not open early and in fact some closed early, and held their occupancy level well under that which is permitted.   

"In addition to the borough liquor-licensed establishments and one beer distributor who did not open for business on Saturday, a few other borough liquor-license establishments opened but at some point during the day, elected to close early. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board also agreed to alter their store hours for all four liquor stores in the Centre Region by closing at 6 p.m. on Saturday instead of 9 p.m. These decisions were also helpful.

"Another positive component to this weekend was the volunteers who participated in the Community Volunteer Day, an effort to promote safety, pride and respect in our community. There was an outstanding turnout, with 252 non-student residents and 238 Penn State students who participated in this community initiative. There were many participants from fraternities and sororities. Also, there were several Penn State student organizations that created service and other volunteer opportunities throughout the day. 

"Finally, the self-imposed restrictions the Interfraternity Council (IFC) placed on all Penn State chapters for Saturday were very beneficial. By all observations, they appeared to adhere to the restrictions of no large functions, no hard liquor at the fraternities, no guest-list functions, and no live entertainment. We applaud the IFC for this action."

Earlier coverage

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