While students prepare to celebrate, clubs and bars get ready for big crowds while the police department prepares to regulate and maintain order amongst the wave of students in anticipation for the first Thursday night of the semester.
Although a big night for students, Sgt. James Fitch in his six years working with the Huntsville Police Department, has seen an improvement on the use of designated drivers and warns students to “Call a cab, or call someone to pick you up, if you find yourself not able to drive.”
As HPD gets ready for Thursday night, local bars and clubs show signs of anticipation for big crowds.
“I’ve been here for a year, and being here for a year you can’t expect anything because everything is random. It pretty much gets packed around nine and any where between nine to 11 anything can happen,” said Derek Muniz a bartender at a popular hangout spot Murski’s Bar and Grill.
Since Muniz has started bartending at Murski’s he has seen everything from fights to girls gone wild. “Definitely the craziest thing I’ve seen since bartending here is some dancing on the bar,” said Muniz.
As well as Murski’s bar, the Shenanigans and Confetti Beach club is ready to fill up to maximum capacity on Thursday. According to an employee at Shenanigans, the two in one club boasts the biggest dance floor in South east Texas, and expects the maximum capacity of 1,700 to be reach by the end of the night.
Clubs, bars, and HPD are not the only ones getting prepared for the first Thursday of the year, but also those who will be helping regulate the town along with HPD.
“We team with other law enforcement agencies, we will be working with both TABC as well as University Police Department, and we will have extra man power working on the first Thursday,” said Sgt. Fitch. According to Sgt. Fitch this extra man power on Thursday nights may continue for the first few weeks.
“We pretty much do the same thing every night, we’re out their looking for stuff, we are a real pro active force, we’re just out there business as usual, its just a little bit more hectic and a little bit more busy on Thursday nights,” said officer Matt Patteson, of the University Police Department.
Officer Patteson recommends for students to “Get a designated driver, be responsible, I mean don’t over do it.” He added “We also have a zero tolerance policy on campus of minor in possession, because we had a death on campus a few years ago, so folks need to watch and just be careful,” explaining the importance of being safe while having fun.
HPD is also participating in the Impaired Driver Mobilization program that is run by the Texas Department of Transportation, at an attempt to curb drinking and driving, and help with the enforcement of that.