By Mark Gockowski and Hannah Reed
This past March the Kent City Police Department had their hands full after being blindsided by a yearly college party known as “Fake Patty’s Day.”
On the morning of March 14th, Kent Police responded to numerous house parties on the streets surrounding Kent State University.
Seven different officers issued 29 arrest summons throughout the day with five nuisance violations given out to residents on East College Avenue, University Street and North Lincoln Street.
The previous few years, Fake Patty’s Day fell during spring break for the University, so the police department was understaffed and felt overwhelmed the morning of the daylong event.
Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct at Kent State, Todd Kamenash, felt the concern of the police officers right away that morning.
“We got a little bit comfortable, so we didn’t anticipate any issues that day. There weren’t increased levels of staffing,” Kamenash said. “The police didn’t have as much staff as they normally have to address the situation.”
Lt. Mike Lewis said the officers understand that next year the department will have to better prepare for an event of this degree and staff accordingly.
Known to have been one of the biggest ticketed days since the last “College Fest” in 2012, students received a fair share of violations due the parties hosted that day.
On top of the five nuisance violations that were given out on that Saturday, Lewis said that 13 noise violations were written for many houses on East College Avenue, University Street and North Lincoln Street. A nuisance violation ticket will cost a student a minimum of $500, depending on the amount of violations given to that property.
“I worry that our community is going to look at Kent State as a black eye for this and other situations.” Kamenash said.
As many remember, College Fest in 2012 cost the City of Kent more than $29,000 in backup, EMS and other services to shut down the fest in April 2012. Fake Patty’s Day this year resulted in spending $1,066 in overtime to keep officers on staff to prevent any riots from happening.
Lewis said, although this was a much smaller cost than College Fest of 2012, it was necessary to keep officers on patrol because the department was unaware of when the partying would subside.
Although the events of Fake Patty’s Day were all throughout the downtown area, the Kent City Police Department created a party registration program in May 2014 to help prevent events like these from getting out of hand.
The Party Registration Program is intended as a cooperative effort between the City of Kent and the Kent City Police Department, as stated in the police department documents, to reduce the negative consequences of excessive noise and other nuisance incidents associated with parties in residential neighborhoods.
According to the Kent City Police, the purpose of the program is to provide party hosts and party attendees with an opportunity to receive a telephone warning and voluntarily terminate a party in the case of excessive noise or to voluntarily handle other nuisance activities after a complaint has been received by the police department.
The Kent Police Department advises that hosts who are registering, or thinking of registering, a party with the program to visit with Kent Police Department officials for information and resources to aid in hosting a safe party.
Noise violations can range around $200 to $500 per case for students, while as previously mentioned, nuisance violations can run up into the thousands.
“My number one concern is always safety. The safety of our students,” Kamenash said. “Our goal is to be fair with the students and that’s what we attempt to do.”