SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Every Savannah police officer is expected to be on the beat during the St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and the city is once again taking a hard-nosed approach against anyone who has plans to break the law and put themselves or others in danger.
We may be two weeks out of the biggest celebration in Savannah, but downtown is already seeing green.
"People are coming in early. They're shopping already for St. Patrick's Day," Saints and Shamrocks Store Manager, Kathryn Neagle said.
"The reviewing stand is right in front of our store, so it's the very end of the parade," Neagle said.
She says there's always a large police presence near the store.
"We always have the sheriff's office, police, and State Patrol outside our store doing crowd control and making sure people behave themselves," Neagle said.
Sgt. Dana Purvis, the Special Events Coordinator of the Savannah Police Department, spoke about some of the safety issues that officers plan to tackle during this year's two-day festival.
"Because of other events around the world and nation, we decided to provide more security during this event," Sgt. Purvis said. "There was an issue in Chippewa Square a couple of years going now. There will be changes in Chippewa Square. We already spoke to a number of schools and parents and letting them know there will be a large law enforcement presence in Chippewa Square."
Eddie Grant, Savannah's Assistant Director for the Office of Special Events, Film, and Tourism, says Savannah officers will be joined by both state and federal authorities.
"We're bringing in resources from all over to assist us to make sure that while people are having a good time and they remain safe," Grant said.
Together, law enforcement will be cracking down on underage drinking. Last year, officers confiscated over 80 fake I.D's and they're ready to take more this year.
While people enjoy being Irish for a day or two, the hope is they'll will play it safe.
"We've never felt unsafe being here, so for us, as long as everyone does what they're supposed to do, we feel very safe around here," Neagle said.
Savannah Police say there will be several road closures during the festival. We should know more within the next several days.