No arrests in quietest St. Patrick’s Day in East Lansing police history

Harper's, March 17, 2020 | Susan J. Demas

In an unprecedented turn of events, East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) made no arrests on St. Patrick’s Day, according to Deputy Chief Steve Gonzalez.

Last year, the ELPD made nine arrests, a low number compared to other years, Gonzalez reported, most of which were for disorderly conduct.

Most neighborhoods have seen a decrease in people in the last week, as many students have moved out while Michigan State University has moved to online classes for the rest of the semester to combat COVID-19, Gonzalez said.

Michigan now has 33 coronavirus cases, many bars still jammed for St. Patrick’s Day weekend

Until Monday, MSU students were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day weekend how they have for decades — outside, in crowds, in the bars, wearing green.

After the Advance published a photo of some MSU students partying over the weekend, Attorney General Dana Nessel said she expressed concern to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and university officials about likely high bar traffic on Tuesday. 

A less crowded St. Patrick’s Day gathering near MSU, March 17, 2020 | Susan J. Demas

On Monday evening, Whitmer announced an executive order banning gatherings of 50 people or more in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

“We did not see any parties or gatherings that approached the 50 person limit at one location,” Gonzalez said. “The town was drastically different from what we’ve seen in years past for St. Patrick’s Day.”

Gonzalez said ELPD wrote between five and seven noise violations for house parties, all in the neighborhoods surrounding MSU campus, but not much else, no driving under the influence arrests.

“Well, I don’t think we’ll see that again, probably in my career, at least, but it was very unique,” Gonzalez said. “These are unique times that we’re living in, for sure.”