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Davis, California

Sunday, June 16, 2024

City and university discuss Picnic Day safety plans

After the record number of arrests on last year’s Picnic Day, both the university and the city of Davis are taking strides to make sure students are on their best behavior this year.

On Wednesday, a panel of representatives from ASUCD, Davis Police Department, UC Davis Police Department, Unitrans and Student Health Services spoke to a crowd about what each organization will be doing to make sure Picnic Day goes as planned.

“We’re going to have a completely unified police force on Picnic Day,” said Davis police department Lt. Glen Glasgow. “University police and Davis police will be working hand in hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.”

Glasgow’s department is working with the bars downtown to hear their issues. The Davis Downtown Business Association has agreed to disallow the sale of alcohol until 11 a.m.

“We’ve also set up a safety enhancement zone around the downtown area,” he said. “Any disturbances or fines downtown will be doubled on Picnic Day, meaning a general noise violation, open container citation or urinating in public will receive a $395 fine.”

Glasgow isn’t ignorant to the fact that students will be drinking, but he hopes that if students are going to party that they do it responsibly and do not harm others.

Lt. Matt Carmichael of the UC Davis Police Department reiterated Glasgow’s points.

“There’s going to be zero tolerance on campus,” he said. “There are no warnings on Picnic Day. We definitely need students to understand that.”

Carmichael, who is also a resident of Davis, insisted that the police department is a big supporter of Picnic Day and they want it to remain.

“At some point we have to change the behavior of our community,” Carmichael said.

Unitrans plans on charging a $1 fare for its riders this Picnic Day. Geoff Straw, Unitrans manager, wants to make sure there are no fights or aggressive behavior aboard his buses.

“After last year, I don’t feel comfortable letting my own daughter ride my own bus,” Straw said. “There were people vomiting and being rude to families. Stuff like this just can’t go on.”

This year there will be uniformed officers on the more popular bus lines, as well as officers at the Memorial Union terminal.

Mandy Li, the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs risk reduction coordinator with Student Health Services, said students need to understand the full risk they undertake with partying.

“Think about the people you are going to invite and how many people you want to have at your party,” she said. “Are you going to be serving food, water, alcohol? You also need to make sure those leaving your party are going to be okay.”

Adam Thongsavat, ASUCD president-elect, is optimistic that with the right information, students will behave responsibly.

“Of course our event isn’t perfect and there needs to be some kind of change,” he said. “But that’s not to say Picnic Day isn’t a great event for the university and the city.”

Thongsavat plans to create ASUCD viral videos to show students how to behave if a police officer stops them on Picnic Day.

ANDY VERDEROSA can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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