SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah Police will be out in full force all weekend long working to keep you safe during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Friday, officers lined up on St. Julian street for roll call. Chief Roy Minter was there to oversee the start of the first night shift of the festival.
This is Chief Minter’s first St. Patrick’s Day. He told WTOC his department worked the Superbowl in 2015, but St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah is on it’s own level.
“This is another big event, but it’s one that I’m not necessarily familiar with, but I’ve got a great department full of outstanding officers who have done this several times. Like I told them, I’m depending on them to continue that great tradition of having a great successful celebration here for St. Patrick’s Day," the chief said.
Officers will have a strong presence along the parade route. They’ll also be tracking the crowds not only from the streets, but also from underground in their control room at the Civic Center.
Patrol commanders and traffic engineers are watching these monitors nonstop this weekend. It gives officials a bird’s eye view of pedestrians and traffic back-ups.
“It allows us to talk quickly and effectively to put resources where we need them if we have an emergency. A couple of years ago, we had a large power outage. In a situation like that, we can get units where they need to go. Last year, we had the building collapse and we had fire, EMS, police all one room which helped us communicate and plan how we’re gonna respond to everything," said Sgt. Jason Pagliaro, Savannah Police Department.
Traffic along most of the parade route will be closed starting at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, but the towing of vehicles parked along the parade route or staging will begin at 6 a.m. The staging area runs from Henry to Gaston between Whitaker and Habersham streets.
The parade itself will travel north on Abercorn Street to Broughton Street, east on Broughton Street to East Broad Street; Bay Street from Broad to Bull Street; and Bull from Bay until it disbands at Madison Square at Bull and Harris streets.