With an estimated 35,000 people in Montauk for the St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday, it's no surprise there were a slew of arrests, disturbances, and calls for help.
Twenty arrests were made, 24 town ordinance violations were issued, including 15 for under-aged drinking, and 62 calls for service were made between 10 a.m. and midnight, according to East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker.
"That's about normal," he said. "From a parade point of view, it was successful. The only number that caught my eye were the 10 ambulance calls. Also, 62 calls for services is a bit high, but a lot were things we wouldn't normally get called out for."
The Montauk Fire Department's ambulance company responded to calls for alcohol poisoning, victims of falls, and a few victims of violence. They did not transport all of them, though the ambulances were kept busy.
About 130 law enforcement officers were on patrol in Montauk for the parade thanks to help from other agencies, including all of the East End towns and villages, the New York State Troopers, the state parks police, the MTA Police, and Suffolk County police, and county sheriff's. "We couldn't do it without them," Ecker said, especially on a beautiful spring day when more visitors than usual turned out.
"It seemed like a higher number of people than in the past," he said. "The estimate from the MTA is that 4,000 people came off the train. They even added extra trains to thin the crowds out."
Of the 20 arrests, nine were charged with disorderly conduct and six were charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, both violations. There was also a misdemeanor criminal mischief arrest and one for a warrant out of Southampton Town.
The most serious offense was for misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, which occured, the chief said, on Napeauge Road and Montauk Highway at about 8:30 p.m. While the DWI number appears low, Ecker said it may just be that officers were tied up with so many other calls. There were no roadblocks.
Officers issued tickets in the field to 15 under-aged drinkers, eight for public urination, and one for littering. "We were staying very busy keeping order with people who were being disorderly," the chief said. "A situation like this, the people who stand out get all the attention."
He added there were a number of fights, but no arrests for assaults.
The chief said he has received some complaints about the number of people getting off the trains and walking with the parade as it started on Edgemere Road, making it difficult for onlookers to see. He said, however, once the parade got to the grandstands on Main Street, there were no further issues.
As the crowds departed on trains on Sunday night, one train was held up on the tracks further west after the MTA received a call that someone -- elsewhere on Long Island -- had threatened to commit suicide on the tracks. The trains came to standstill for about an hour, Ecker said.