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Picnic Day security: It's a job for police, community — and you!


By Julie Ann Easley

See something? Say something.

Visitors to Picnic Day tomorrow (April 20) are being asked to do their part to keep the annual open house both safe and family friendly.

Student organizers, together with police and campus leaders, encourage visitors not only to celebrate safely but also report problems they may see.

"We want our community members to help us take care of each other," Police Chief Matt Carmichael said.

Debuting in time for Picnic Day is a phone number for reporting less urgent problems: (530) 754-COPS.

Information about police services will also be more readily available: About 40 new signs displayed around campus will have a QR, or quick response, code that allows smartphones with the proper application to easily view the police department's website without the user having to enter a URL.

Carmichael said 60-plus police officers — many of them on bikes — will be on duty on Picnic Day, assisted by more than a dozen members of the department's Volunteers in Police Service, or VIPS, and about 20 students, in uniform, from the new VIPS cadet program.

After Picnic Day ends on campus, the campus Police Department will provide about 10 officers to the city of Davis for evening duty.

This year, fines have been increased for certain violations that take place within the city's Safety Enhancement Zone. Violations of ordinances related to noise complaints, public urination and open containers will be $403 each during the Picnic Day weekend; smoking in public will be $480.

The zone, in effect from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday, includes the downtown and is bordered by Eighth Street on the north, Anderson Road on the west and the railroad tracks on the east.

Violations that occur within the Safety Enhancement Zone will not be eligible for the new Yolo County Neighborhood Court, a diversion program that offers an alternative to criminal court for some offenses. See separate story on Neighborhood Court.

For the second year in a row, many in the campus community are taking the Picnic Day Pledge — individually or by way of the Picnic Day Greek Covenant — to act responsibly. As of today (April 19), the leaders of 65 fraternities and sororities and other Greek organizations had signed the 10-point covenant in which they pledge to be responsible party hosts and "promote a healthy and safe environment" for Picnic Day.

Davis businesses that sell alcoholic beverages — for on-sale or off-sale consumption — are making a similar public pledge, one that dates back to 2011. As of today (April 19), the “on-sale” and “off-sale” covenants had drawn a total of 62 signatures of merchants committed to follow responsible sales and hospitality practices during Picnic Day weekend.

Read the business covenants and see who’s signed.

"We're doing all we can to help ensure everyone enjoys the best of UC Davis on Picnic Day," said Jonathan Wu, chair of the student-run event and a senior majoring in neurobiology.

Picnic Day offers more than more than 200 family-friendly activities — including a parade, entertainment, educational exhibits, tours, a children's fair, sporting contests and animal events.

Picnic Day online, including the schedule of events and information on parking (it’s free). 

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