Police staked out two liquor stores today, as part of "Operation Follow the Keg." For a few hours, officers in plain clothing watched if people came out with more than one keg. The City's Liquor Commissioner put a ban in place on multiple keg licenses this week, because of Unofficial. Officers wanted to make sure students weren't breaking the new city rule. Officers say they didn't find too many problems. They ended their operation early, because things were moving slowly.
The big problem of the day was drunk students. Officers issued more than 80 tickets and arrested three people. They say compared to last year, when one woman died, things this year are a lot calmer.
Unofficial Saint Patrick's Day is more than just a reason to wear green for students. One describes the celebration like "Christmas, it's like Christmas; it's kinda like senior skip day in high school." It's an all-day celebration with alcohol. One says he's been drinking since six in the morning, and doesn't plan to stop until 6 the next day.
The parking lot at Picadilly is packed with people coming out with arms full of beer and even kegs and that's what police are looking for. Champaign police officer Rob Wills is part of "Operation Follow the Keg." He one of four tonight that are making sure people don't break a new city law for unofficial and come out with more than one. He says, " we're not trying to ruin anything, i'm like other people who want them to have a good time as much as anything else, what we can't have is the things that go along with the overconsumption, it's stupidity."
Students say they're not looking to make trouble. They agree with officers, "It got out of hand last year, but this year we are just trying to make it a fun day."
Officers say compared to last year alcohol sales in stores and bars are slower.