Run rules: Local officials urge responsibility, caution for 35th Runnin O’ the GreenStaying out of trouble with the law during the Runnin O’ the Green is really not that difficult, according to Jamestown Police Chief Scott Edinger. It’s just a matter of following a few simple rules. “Don’t take alcohol outside the designated area and no indecent exposure,” he said. “We have a lot of Porta-Potties. Use them.”
By: By Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Staying out of trouble with the law during the Runnin O’ the Green is really not that difficult, according to Jamestown Police Chief Scott Edinger. It’s just a matter of following a few simple rules.
“Don’t take alcohol outside the designated area and no indecent exposure,” he said. “We have a lot of Porta-Potties. Use them.”
The Runnin O’ the Green is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday in Jamestown. The pub crawl winds through Jamestown with more than 2,200 participants expected.
Edinger said that while there are some issues every year, for the most part, participants in Runnin O’ the Green have a good time without any problems.
“Mostly, it is just a lot of people having fun,” he said. “If the weather is good, like last year, even the people we arrested were joking around and having fun.”
He advises participants to walk on streets and sidewalks, avoid walking on private property and dispose of litter in the Dumpsters placed along the route.
Edinger said the city allows the bars to operate outdoors much like they do during summer street dances. The bar area must be fenced and anyone carrying alcohol outside the area is subject to arrest.
Anyone urinating in public is also subject to arrest, he said.
“Those kind of charges can follow a person for the rest of their life,” Edinger said.
The Jamestown Police Department and Jamestown Municipal Court have streamlined the process for handling minor violations of law during the event. The agencies jointly operate a command post at the Jamestown Fire Department where people who are arrested can post bond.
“The command post frees up space,” Edinger said. “We set up at the fire hall because it is quicker and closer to downtown. People post bond and can waive the right to appear or they can post bond and set a court date.”
The command post saves officers time when bringing someone in for processing when compared to taking them to the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center for booking. It’s used for minor crimes such as open container outside the bars fenced area or urinating in public. People with major offenses such as driving under the influence will be taken to the jail and booked.
Edinger said some DUI arrests occur during and after the run although the numbers are small compared to other issues.
“Compared to the number of people who participate, DUI is not as common as you think,” he said.
This year the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office and North Dakota Highway Patrol will participate in a DUI saturation in the area.
Anyone drinking during the Runnin O’ the Green is urged not to drive. Jamestown taxi cab companies will be available that day. In addition, volunteers provide rides to anyone needing transportation. Some volunteer groups, such as Iverson Construction’s Relay for Life Team, collect a freewill donation for the rides and then donate the money to charity, according to Larry Knoblich, event organizer.
Groups are urged to have their own designated driver who does not drink alcohol, Edinger said.
Law enforcement officers also check those they arrest for warrants for other crimes and have made arrests during the event, Edinger said.
The Jamestown Fire Department inspected all bars participating in the Runnin O’ the Green during the weeks before the event, said Jim Reuther, Jamestown fire chief. Personnel verified that exit signs and other safety measures were in place that reminded bar owners of the legal occupancy limit.
Reuther also said the fire department patrols the streets during the run and makes sure that access for fire trucks is possible even on closed streets.
Emergency services are also prepared.
“It varies, but sometimes by the end of the night we can be busy,” Nancy Miller, business manager for Jamestown Area Ambulance, said regarding calls received on the day of the run.
Miller said many of the calls involve injuries that have occurred in fights but the occasional case of “overindulgence” in alcohol is also encountered.
Sheila Krapp, emergency department manager at Jamestown Regional Medical Center, said they also see some late-evening activity.
“It mostly depends on the weather,” she said. “We see more problems when conditions are icy and slippery with a lot of falls and some broken bones.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org