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Police Prepare for Unofficial St. Patrick's Day

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 10:55 AM CST

Unofficial St. Patrick's Day is just a little more than two weeks away and local law enforcement agencies are gearing up.  According to the U of I Police Department, the goal this year is that nobody gets seriously injured or dies. Authorities say the plans are not finalized yet but say it will be a five police department effort to keep everyone safe.

"Last year I tried to stay as far off campus as I could, I went home. This year I plan on doing the same." said Kendall Herren, a sophomore at the University of Illinois.

She says she has no plans to get involved in Unofficial St. Patricks day.
An event police and city officials want to see disappear because they say it's nothing but a dangerous and destructive excuse to binge drink.

"What we really want to do is just maintain the order, keep people safe and keep the collateral damage for those not involved to a minimum." said Champaign mayor Don Gerard.
University of Illinois police say plans aren't done yet, but it will be a five police department effort to keep everyone safe.
Police say last year nobody died or was seriously injured, but people did end up in the hospital.

Some U of I students say police are making Unofficial seem more dangerous than it actually is.
"I think that we'll take care of ourselves just fine, and nothing is going to go wrong." said U of I freshman, Michael Weinstein.

Gerard says Unofficial costs the city money, but there's not much that can be done to completely stop it.

"The bottom line is we want to keep people safe and respect the rights of those who have a legal right to drink, and the rights of business to conduct their business." said Gerard.

Restrictions will be in place and extra officers will be on the streets, but it's not enough to keep students like Kendall Herren from leaving town for the weekend.

"I think it's a pain, a real pain. I'm sure law enforcement hates it more than they'd admit it," she said.

Police Prepare for Unofficial St. Patrick's Day

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