State College police are encouraging everyone to celebrate responsibly after Saturday’s game.
But should things go south, they are prepared.
“We’re hoping people celebrate responsibly,” State College police Lt. Chris Fishel said Friday. “We’ve taken various steps to activate our mutual aid agreements, to have other police departments helping us.”
Since the football team has been doing well, he said, the department began preparing for potential situations. Any law enforcement response will be dictated by behavior, he said, so he’s hoping its a positive experience for everyone.
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The preparation comes in conjunction with a recent release by Penn State administrators making a similar endorsement of responsible festivities, noting that a “cause for celebration never justifies harm to safety or public property, and the University will always take strong action against those who cause such harm.”
An unexpected win over Ohio State was followed by a raucous celebration through the State College downtown that ended with 13 people being changed with rioting. Five of them waived their preliminary hearings on felony charges this weekend. Damages from the spree topped $30,000.
Fishel said that State College police are prepared to work with regional departments as well as the State Police should the need arise. About 100 officers and more than a dozen horses are on standby.
All officers are on duty this weekend, he said. It’s the largest standby of police officers in the area since 2000.
“Enjoy the event,” he said. “Hopefully we come away with a victory and people celebrate responsibly.”