Savannah Police discusses safety plan for St. Patrick’s Day

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - With just days until thousands descend on the Hostess City for St. Patrick’s Day, the Savannah Police Department is staffing up to keep everyone safe.

“Every officer who is not working a beat in the precinct is working downtown,” said Sgt. Jason Pagliaro with the Savannah Police Department.

City officials say all fire and police stations will be fully staffed with officers also patrolling city streets and crowds.

Among top reminders from police, don’t drink and drive and use ridesharing apps or cabs to get home.

“We’re going to be out there, GSP’s going to be out. It’s not worth it to go out on the roads after drinking.”

SPD is also boosting its mounted patrol unit aiming to assist vehicles that respond to emergencies.

“We use the horses to escort that vehicle through heavy pedestrian traffic. You’ll see us up and down the lanes looking people doing things they shouldn’t be doing in lanes,” said SCpl. Ann Sosbe with SPD’s Mounted Patrol Unit.

Mounted patrol is also bringing in an additional four units from Alabama to help with crowd control.

“When you have eight horses that are an average of 1,500-2,000 pounds a piece, that’s makes for a large - no pun intended - police presence.”

This will also be the first St. Patrick’s Day for Savannah Police with Lenny Gunther as chief.

Despite his new role, SPD says patrolling the crowds is nothing new for Gunther who is a 21-year veteran of the force.

The department will also get help from at least seven different agencies to help keep crowds safe this St. Patrick’s Day.

“We’ve got assistance from Chatham County sheriff, Chatham County P.D., Thunderbolt, a little bit of everybody,” said Pagliaro.

SPD is encouraging everyone coming to the festivities to travel in a group and be aware of their surroundings.

For parents, police are encouraging you to take pictures of your children from that day if you’re bringing them - that way you can show police exactly what your kids are wearing if they get lost.