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SUNY police, administration blanket Pine Hills, prepare for holiday

March 16, 2012

by Alvaro Alarcon

Thomas Gebhardt, University at Albany Police, Thursday at the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association meeting / Alvaro Alarcon

University at Albany administrators and neighborhood activists are keeping an eye on what could, or could not be, a difficult Saint Patrick’s Day weekend for police.

The University at Albany, marred from last year’s “Kegs and Eggs” riot, has stepped up its public information campaign this week in Pine Hills, according to statements made by a university police official Thursday.

“ We went out on March 7…knocking on doors, talking to students…basically warning them if there are going to have a party, police are going to be a big presence,” said Thomas Gebhardt, director of personal safety and off-campus affairs at the University at Albany’s police department.

He spoke at the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association monthly meeting Thursday at LaSalle School Hanner Culture Center on Western Avenue.

Last year’s riot during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations led university administrators to reschedule spring break to this week, in the belief that students would be out of town instead of being here to riot. Gebhardt is not a uniformed police officer but functions as a university administrative liaison to the university’s police department.

Gebhardt distributed to Pine Hills Neighborhood Association officers and members present at the Thursday monthly meeting a green leaflet, produced by the University at Albany, College of Saint Rose and Albany Police Department.

The leaflet, distributed to area students, reminds students of the legal responsibilities. Between warnings about overcrowding, crowd control, noise and alcohol consumption laws, there also is a tip to visit a Web page, “Off-Campus Parties and You,” at

Albany police, according to Pine Hills beat officer, Sgt. Greg Krikorian, expect a full show of force, with 16 hours days, this weekend. District Attorney David Soares, Mayor Gerald Jennings, and other city and police officials hold a press conference today at 11 a.m. on the corner of Hamilton and Ontario streets, to spotlight municipal efforts to make that that the past Kegs and Eggs melee stays in the past.

“ Kudos to the universities for taking the initiative and foresight, Krikorian said, for putting students on break.

Saint Rose students are back in class however, with spring breaking being the first week in March.

Policing Saint Patrick’s day amounts to having a “ pretty much a zero tolerance policy,” Krikorian added.

“ I see it playing out that people have a nice time and without incident. I think all responsible parties have gotten the word out of what’s acceptable not acceptable. I think people do it reasonably and without incident,” said Todd Hunsinger, Pine Hills Neighborhood Association president.

Police matters are never far from earshot at the neighborhood association’s meetings, with Krikorian Thursday updating the association on the latest turn of events with prosecuting vandals producing graffiti. A citizens police action review board also is being discussed by common council members and area activists.

“ Most CPRB issues are not related to college students…while the CPRB has been a big issue for the public safety committee…it happens to be a big city wide issue,” said Councilwoman Leah Golby, D-10thWard at the meeting. -30-


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