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Arrests Down, Crowd Up at Montauk St. Patrick's Day Parade

Police, organizers believe active enforcement and organizational changes are paying off.

Police said the Montauk Friends of Erin St. Patrick's Day brought 25,000 to 30,000 people to Montauk on Sunday, but despite a bigger crowd compared to last year, there were less arrests.

East Hampton Town police made nine parade-related arrests made, according to Lt. Chris Hatch; three were charged with driving while intoxicated, one charged with driving while ability impaired, two disorderly conducts, one false personation, one reckless driving and unlawful possession of marijuana.

One person was flown to Stony Brook University Hospital on Sunday afternoon after an incident at O'Murphy's Pub & Restaurant, Detective Lt. Chris Anderson said on Wednesday. Bouncers ejected a Medford man in his early 20s, whom staff and other patrons thought was acting inappropriately, Anderson said. "He suffered injuries to his face and head." No charges have been filed yet and the matter is still under investigation.

Hatch, the Montauk precinct commander, said that 155 officers from agencies throughout Suffolk County were on patrol for the parade, including for a special STOP DWI patrol. "We advertised the STOP DWI enforcement pretty heavily. Hopefully that helped us and deterred some people," he said. "Overall, I would consider it successful," Hatch said.

Richard J. Katz, 54, of New York City, was charged with misdemeanor DWI on The Plaza at about 7 p.m. Richard J. Clark, 19, of Shirley, was hit with the same charge on South Emerson Avenue on about 5:30 p.m. Reports for the others charged with misdemeanor offenses were not made available yet.

Police use the Suffolk County Sheriff's office BAT mobile van to conduct breath tests.

In 2012, the parade was changed to an earlier start time of 10 a.m. The time, combined with bad weather, brought out about two-thirds of the normal sized crowd of 30,000 to 35,000. DWI arrests were way up, however, and there were two DWI-related accidents. In recent years there have been as many as 22 arrests.

"All in all, I think this year was milder than average, as far as the attitude and the way every body handled themselves," Hatch said. "Overall, the 11:30 start played in our favor," he said.

Joe Bloecker, the president of the Montauk Friends of Erin, said he is happy to see the parade moving in the right direction. "It seems the work the Friends of Erin has been doing for the last few years has come to fruition," he said. "It's much more family oriented."

He estimated there were 28,000 people who attended the parade.

Officers also handed out 21 summons for town ordinances for various violations including public urination and open container. There were also several additional citations for taxi legislation violations.

 Police were called out for 15 or 18 additional events such as aided cases and disorderly conduct.

The train brought in 2,300 people, about 1,900 of which came in on the first train right before the parade. Hatch said the parade start was held off about 10 minutes to let those who arrived make it up to Main Street.

pat March 21, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Where's everybody in the summer? Why just clean it up for one day a year? Guess we'll have more car accidents in the summer again, and everybody will wonder why, wring their hands, and forget it until next year.

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