Safety remains top priority in Picnic Day preparations

As the Davis campus and community prepared for the centennial Picnic Day, safety remained a top concern.

The Picnic Day Unit under ASUCD prepared a large array of the usual festivities, including a scavenger hunt, parade, exhibits, fairs and more. The City of Davis, Picnic Day, ASUCD and the UC Davis Police Department (UCDPD) collaborated to ensure safety among the masses of partying Davis residents.

 “Our role in the next Picnic Day typically starts after the last Picnic Day,” UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael said. “We do a lot of preparation in advance. We really try to spread information and share the concept of keeping each other safe.”

 The UCDPD and campus officials have been heavily advocating the “see something, say something” policy. Attendants of Picnic Day are encouraged to call UCDPD if they see anything dangerous or suspicious.

 “There are certain groups of students who haven’t felt welcome or included on Picnic Day,”  ASUCD President Armando Figueroa said.

 The “see something, say something” policy extends to instances of harassment as well.

 “If you see someone harassing another member of the community we really want you to call us,” Carmichael said. “We’re not going to stand for that behavior. Picnic Day is for everyone.”

 Approximately 60 officers  were patrolling the campus and town, including officers from San Francisco State University, UC San Francisco, UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

 “We really try to utilize mutual aid from other school’s police departments,” Carmichael said.

Partnership has been a theme in preparation for this year’s Picnic Day. Unitrans partnered with UCDPD, having officers ride some of the buses to assure that passengers do not distract the drivers.

The Safe Party Initiative, a collaboration between the City of Davis and the University, has been working to get information out to students about how to drink responsibly. A new feature on the Safe Party website allows users to download the Safe Party app onto their phones. The app includes tips for drinking responsibly, the four signs of alcohol poisoning and one touch dialing for safe, sober transportation.

“The most important thing is to remember if [students] choose to consume alcohol, is that they do it in such a way that will minimize the risks to their health and well-being,” said Polly Paulson, health promotion supervisor with Student Health and Counseling Services.

Paulson suggested tips for staying safe on Picnic Day, including never drinking on an empty stomach, staying with the same group of friends, alternating water with alcoholic beverages and setting a limit for yourself.

 “Safety Enhancement Zones will be in effect downtown this year,” said Jacquelyn Kong, Picnic Day chair.

Citable violations in Safety Enhancement Zones include general noise, public urination, carrying open containers of alcohol and smoking violations. Fines will be roughly double the normal amount in those areas.

 Davis residents are encouraged to know where these zones are to avoid any unwanted police involvement.

 “Student responsibility needs to be a big part of this Picnic Day,”  Figueroa said.

 Ultimately, those who prepared for Picnic Day made the necessary precautions, anticipating a day of fun without unnecessary problems.

 “Remember who we are,”  Carmichael said. “This is a wonderful community. We take care of one another. The rules are pretty simple and they’re fair. Let’s have a great Picnic Day!”

 Visit http://safeparty.ucdavis.edu for tips on partying safe.

 LAUREN MASCARENHAS can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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