Command post: People who get caught breaking rules at the Runnin O' the Green will go here
It’s called the command post.
The Jamestown Police Department and Jamestown Municipal Court use the fire station space to process minor violations of the law, like open containers outside of the cordoned-off areas around bars participating in the Runnin O’ the Green and public urination.
Jamestown Police Chief Scott Edinger said the command post was established to streamline the process for handling people who were caught committing the minor violations. People issued citations used to have to go to the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center and post bond at dispatcher’s window downstairs.
“The problem was there is only so much space downstairs to process people (at the LEC),” Edinger said. “Plus, officers were spending too much time transporting people back to the law enforcement center.”
Edinger said the most common citations issued during Runnin O’ the Green are for unlawful possession of an alcoholic beverage and urinating in public.
“They (unlawful possession of an alcoholic beverage and urinating in public) are the biggest issues we have,” he said. “The designated drinking areas outside of the bars are well marked, and there are plenty of Porta-Pottys around.”
Runnin O’ the Green participants are asked to walk on sidewalks or in streets closed off to traffic during the event and not walk on private lawns.
Edinger said for people who drink too much the cab companies in Jamestown are available, and there are volunteer groups who will offer rides as well.
Last year 65 citations were handled by the command post. Jamestown Municipal Court Clerk Brenda Knapp and Sue Pfaff, Jamestown Police Department clerical supervisor, will process the people as they come through the station Saturday.
Pfaff said she and Knapp only handle the unlawful possession of an alcoholic beverage and urinating in public citations.
“Anything bigger than that, they are taken over to the jail,” she said.
Pfaff said she and Knapp have been doing the clerical work at the command post since it was established in 2012. The flow of people through the fire station is at times a trickle, and sometimes a flood.
“It goes in spurts, at times it’s very, very busy,” she said.
For the most part, people coming through the line are OK, but not pleased to be in this situation.
“We had a couple of people last year who were very upset and were not pleasant,” Pfaff said.
The hardest part about the command post process is collecting bond money. Unlawful possession of an alcoholic beverage and urinating in public are Class B misdemeanors, and the bond is $500 cash.
“Cash only, no checks, no credit cards,” Pfaff said.
There is some good news for people who get caught urinating in public during this year’s Runnin O’ the Green. Jamestown Municipal Court Judge Timothy Ottmar has authorized reducing the bond for urinating in public to $150 cash. The bond will be reduced during the Runnin O’ the Green and through noon on Sunday. After noon on Sunday, anyone cited for urinating in public will pay the regular $500 cash bond.
The maximum penalty for a Class B misdemeanor is 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.
Jamestown Assistant Police Chief John Johnson said he has worked the Runnin O’ the Green many times during his 33-year career with the department.
“Most of the people out there are having a good time, follow the rules and are behaved,” he said.
Johnson said he doesn’t expect anything different from the crowd this year, even with the addition of a 10th stop on the route, Los Molcajettes, a Mexican restaurant.
“It doesn’t make a difference, the number of stops,” he said. “People are going to drink, no matter how many stops there are along the way.”
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org