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Mar 25, 2010 2:54 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Extra police patrols for Westhampton Beach St. Patrick's Day Parade

Mar 25, 2010 2:54 PM

St. Patrick’s Day Parade attendees will notice more men in blue in Westhampton Beach this Saturday, though they will not be marching in the village’s annual parade.

Rather, the extra officers from neighboring East End police departments will be asked to help Westhampton Beach Village Police monitor the parade route and maintain order after last year’s event was marred by several incidents. Last year, two Westhampton Beach Police officers were injured breaking up a fight between two teenagers in an alleyway, and a 14-year-old girl from Remsenburg was found unconscious on Main Street after suffering alcohol poisoning. Multiple incidents of underage drinking were also reported.

“There will be quite a police presence along the parade corridor,” said Westhampton Beach Village Police Chief Ray Dean, adding that he intends to have almost 50 officers on patrol this year. “We, obviously, are going to have a lot more than last year.”

Chief Dean said he intends to at least double the number of officers from other police departments who will help monitor this year’s parade, noting that he has enlisted almost two dozen officers from the Quogue, Southampton Town, Southampton Village, Riverhead Town, Shelter Island, East Hampton Village and East Hampton Town police departments, and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. That’s on top of the 27 full-time, part-time and civilian staffers with the Westhampton Beach Police who will also be patrolling the parade route, which starts at the Westhampton Beach Elementary School on Mill Road and ends at the intersection of Main Street and Sunset Avenue.

Chief Dean said he usually sets aside around $5,000 from his annual budget to cover the overtime that is accumulated by some officers. He also said that the neighboring police departments do not charge Westhampton Beach Village for the extra patrols.

Last year, around the same number of Westhampton Beach officers were on duty for the parade, but they were only supported by about 10 officers from the Quogue and Southampton Town police departments, and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, according to Chief Dean.

The extra officers, he said, are needed to help avoid a repeat of what happened last year, when there was a fight in the alley near Funcho’s Fajita Grill on Main Street. Two officers were hurt trying to break up the altercation. Additionally, a teenage girl had to be rushed to the emergency room to have her stomach pumped after she was found passed out on a bench in front of Margarita Grill on Main Street suffering from alcohol poisoning. There were also other problems caused by roving crowds of teenagers and underage drinking, according to authorities and some parade attendees.

Chief Dean said there will be a zero-tolerance policy this year with the village’s open container laws, a violation that usually carries a fine or possible jail time. He also stated that officers will do everything in their power to curb underage drinking. Chief Dean said his department was making sure that local establishments that sell alcohol during the parade have the proper licenses, and that their employees are properly checking IDs.

Police officers will also be cracking down on other offenses, like urinating in public, which are caused by “overzealous drinking” that usually comes with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Chief Dean said.

Police will start blocking off roads to vehicles at around 11 a.m. on Saturday, about an hour before the parade begins at noon. Thousands of spectators usually attend the festivities, though that figure can vary depending on the weather. Chief Dean said police will be running extra patrols between noon and 2 p.m., when the crowds start to dissipate. Officers will also be patrolling the village at night, Chief Dean said.

Westhampton Beach Mayor Conrad Teller said Chief Dean decided on his own to increase the amount of patrols for the parade, which was delayed two weeks due to the weather. “He increased it on his own merits,” Mayor Teller said. “No one ordered him to do so.”

Tim Laube, the president of the Westhampton Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, said he and his fellow organizers appreciate the extra security. He added that the parade is a family event and he hopes that the extra patrols will encourage people to be on their best behavior.

“If they are looking for trouble, they can go look somewhere else,” Mr. Laube said. “That’s not what Westhampton Beach is about.”

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Bring back "Jimmy the Gun" he's the "BEST" Cop this Village ever had!!!
By sayitaintsojoe (100), Westhampton on Mar 25, 10 4:06 PM
HA HA HA
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 25, 10 5:21 PM
I would love to met the person who said JIM THE GUN. Should have been given a bage and a gun in the first place.
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 25, 10 6:04 PM
It will be nice to FINALLY see some police in Westhampton Beach.Since they are NEVER around.
My one question is since they are ALL over paid to begin with why does the head of overpaid DEAN set aside $5,000.Just wake up the overpaid ones that are suspose to be working,
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 25, 10 5:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Unless the police are volunteers, I hope WHB is paying for the service and not the various entities (ie. Southampton Town). If not, this is improper.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 25, 10 5:31 PM
Read the artical and you will have your answer
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 25, 10 6:05 PM
I read the article and I know that I am paying taxes for SHT police protection in Sag Harbor and for the WHBV parade?...In this or any economy this is nuts. WHB Village or the parade committee should pay for this extra protection and potential liability for SHT. If they can pay $5,000 to their employees they should pay ours too unless of course, they volunteer.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 25, 10 10:13 PM
So why don't you contact the SHT??????????????
By sjd (420), Westhampton Beach on Mar 25, 10 11:39 PM
See other article:

http://www.27east.com/story_detail.cfm?id=266925

What will the combined police coverage cost the taxpayers of Peconic County?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Mar 25, 10 7:28 PM
Don't waste your time. I too wish it could be done but as long as Sheldon Silver is Speaker of the Assembly you can forget about Peconic County.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 25, 10 10:18 PM
Westhampton Beach is not about trouble? Westhampton Beach is all about trouble.
By TimLaubeStinks (2), Fishers Island on Mar 26, 10 12:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
It's 11:02am on Saturday March 27th. Only an hour to the official kickoff of the Westhampton Drunk Fest!!! Hopefully I don't observe the public urination I observed on Beach Lane last year. Drunks pissing in the homeowners hedges and front yards, while stumbling their way from Main St to Casey's..
By sayitaintsojoe (100), Westhampton on Mar 27, 10 11:03 AM
HOPE ALL WENT WELL, ALL WERE SAFE AND HAD A GREAT TIME. Then back to reality. Your local government is imploding.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Mar 27, 10 6:10 PM