This past Monday, the streets were filled with shivering students dressed in green for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
Unlike last year, the St. Patrick’s Day festivities didn’t span over a two-day period. During the day, police served 62 open liquor tickets, five tickets for underage drinking, six public intoxication tickets and one Highway Traffic Act offence throughout the city.
However, no arrests or injuries occurred.
“It is a little hard to compare because last year’s was a weekend St. Patrick’s Day…I believe it was warmer weather additionally,” said Constable Steve Koopman, media relations officer of the Kingston Police Force.
Crowds did not begin to form on Aberdeen St. until mid-afternoon on Monday. The weekend and the weather made it more convenient last year for partygoers, not only in terms of their jobs or studies but also that it stretched over two days, said Koopman.
“I was actually downtown in the University District myself on Aberdeen, to assist for a few hours on Monday and the cold wind did make it a little bitter,” Koopman said.
“You could see people shivering and they didn’t want to stay outside for too long,”
Last year the police weren’t expecting the almost 1,000 people that filled Aberdeen St. This year, however, officers were solely dedicated to offset any calls for service that appeared to be related to St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
The day was busy, according to Koopman, but seemed to be overall manageable due to students’ cooperation and correspondence.
Fines for alcohol violations range between $65-125 and can easily be avoided by celebrating responsibly, Koopman said.
“We want people to enjoy themselves. They just have to do so responsibly,” Koopman said. “Our purpose there is not to lay as many tickets as we can or make as many arrests as possible. It is there to simply keep the peace and make sure everyone is doing so safely.”
Interactions with the police on duty varied from student to student.
“My experience with the police on St. Patrick’s Day was limited. However, the times I did talk to them they were respectful,” Tristan Oginbene, Sci ’17, said.
Kayla Ironside, ArtSci ’14, also said her experiences with police were positive.
“The police this year were great. They were taking pictures for people, being reasonable and allowing the students to have a good time,” Ironside said.
She said this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was much quieter than last year.
“There weren’t as many people out and about, I felt a bit guilty for partying on a Monday, especially so close to the end of the year.”
However, David Cohen, ArtSci ’16, said he felt the police were “a bit excessive” and “abusive”.
“The police do need to take precautions to ensure they don’t have a repeat from several years ago, but I don’t think it’s right to justify random tickets to students,” he said.
Cohen said he found that the streets’ physical conditions less than favourable.
“The ice outside made for difficult walking conditions, seen by students helplessly falling all day long,” Cohen said.
Despite this, Cohen added, the day still went well.
“I think most students all had work in the back of their minds, but that was quickly forgotten and we all managed to have a great time,” he said.
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