SCMPD Preparing for Saint Patrick's Day - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/03/06

SCMPD Preparing for Saint Patrick's Day

Where will you be two weeks from right now? Saint Patrick's Day in Savannah is huge, with hundreds of thousands of people coming for the parade and party. Are police ready to handle the crowds?

Capt. Gerry Long of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department says it will have all 500 officers covering the streets, and that doesn't include the sheriff's department, EMS and fire personnel who will also be on hand.

Olympia Cafe on River Street is bustling today. Nick Pappas says it's going to be busier two weeks from today when the Saint Patrick's Day crowds roll in.

"It was years here that we have so many people that we couldn't just walk the streets, but we've never had a problem," he said.

SCMPD wants it to stay that way, and preparations to keep the streets secure are in full swing. "Everybody on the department is working," said Capt. Long.

Everybody means some officers will be covering the festival and the parade, while others will be covering the normal day-to-day operations. "You still have a person who has an unrelated accident at Liberty and Montgomery, and you have a person who has a burglary and needs a report of that, a fight or domestic, so we also have to maintain regular police service during this period of time," said Capt. Long.

She says she expects there likely won't be as much crime, because there will be more officers patrolling the streets. She expects they'll be spending time responding to thefts or bar fights.

Back at Olympia Cafe, Nick Pappas says he's ready for another big crowd for Saint Patrick's Day and doesn't anticipate crime will be an issue. "People come down here to have a good time, but they don't come down here to kill each other."

SCMPD interim chief Willie Lovett announced today that, starting tonight, detectives will be walking the streets in uniform. The reason is to increase more police viability and hopefully reduce crime.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com

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