University District Safety Initiative reinstated ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

Kingston Police officers handing out information regarding large gatherings and police enforcement under COVID-19 protocols in the University District of downtown Kingston during St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2021. Photo via Kingston Police.

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police have issued a release reminding partiers that reckless and high-risk nuisance behaviour can have serious impacts.

Under the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI), a fine or charge received could be retained as a permanent police record, resulting in real impacts for an individual’s future academic or career prospects, but unsafe parties can also impact the community, the City said.

“With Provincial COVID-19 regulations easing, we know everyone is excited to get out and meet with friends, but please remember to act safely and look out for one another,” said Kingston Fire Chief Shawn Armstrong. “The risks of unsafe fires, people gathering on a roof or too many people trying to fit on a porch are compounded when mixed with alcohol and drug use and could lead to serious injuries or even death.”

According to the release, the high-risk behaviours often associated with large gatherings and nuisance behaviour put Kingston’s emergency services under pressure and every preventable call to Kingston Fire & Rescue, Frontenac Paramedics, and Kingston Police could mean a delayed response for another emergency in the city. These sorts of gatherings also place stress on hospitals, which are required to respond to otherwise preventable injuries, resulting in reduced emergency capacity and longer wait times at the hospital.

University District Safety Initiative (USDI) is in effect

The UDSI is in effect from Thursday, Mar. 10, 2022, at 12 a.m. to Sunday, Mar. 20, 2022, at 12 a.m. During St. Patrick’s Day, Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police will be in the University District responding to calls and proactively patrolling for nuisance behaviour, according to the release.

  • Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) can be issued for nuisance party infractions. These fines can be issued by and paid to the City directly. Under the UDSI, a fine under the nuisance party bylaw or liquor licensing act can also result in a mandatory court summons.
  • Students fined under the UDSI may also face non-academic sanctions through their post-secondary institution, depending on rules or policies in place at that institution.

“The 2021 Homecoming celebrations marked a troubling escalation in nuisance behaviour. We know many people are excited to celebrate with friends, but it cannot come at the expense of community safety,” said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely. “Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement are prepared to respond to gatherings that cross the line into nuisance behaviour. Don’t let one party lead to a fine that can permanently jeopardize your career prospects.”

Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police are working closely with other community partners and institutions, including Queen’s University, Frontenac Paramedic Services, Kingston Health Sciences Centre and KFL&A Public Health to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, according to the release.

“St. Patrick’s Day may be the first time in two years that revelers are able to celebrate amid reduced COVID restrictions,” said Frontenac Paramedics Chief Gale Chevalier. “As paramedics, we very strongly encourage everyone planning St. Patrick’s Day revelry to celebrate safely and responsibly. Please be extra alert on the roads to help ensure Paramedics, Police, and Fire Fighters can work safely.”

City staff in multiple departments, including Kingston Fire & Rescue, Transportation Services and Public Works are also collaborating with community partners in various capacities as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that service impacts resulting from St. Patrick’s Day are mitigated and that everyone stays safe. According to the release, staff have also been working proactively with community partners to inform individuals of current regulations.

Read more about the University District Safety Initiative on the City’s website.

One thought on “University District Safety Initiative reinstated ahead of St. Patrick’s Day

  • Is it possible that Queen’s students might actually be fined for their bad behaviour this time.

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