Cops Plan Public Drinking Crackdown

Thomas MacMillan File PhotoAs police prepare for 300,000 people to descend on the city for Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, they’re urging parade-goers to leave the booze at home—or face a $99 ticket.

Police spokesman Dave Hartman sent that message at a press conference Thursday afternoon held in ... a bar: Anna Liffey’s pub at 17 Whitney Ave. That was the point: The bar owners and police announced they’d be working together for a smooth parade day.

The annual parade, the biggest single-day spectator event in the state, draws a flood of often rowdy, boozy spectators to downtown streets, bars and restaurants.

Lt. Rebecca Sweeney, downtown’s top cop, said police plan to flyer the area to warn parade-goers that they can be fined $99 for getting caught drinking in public.

Public drinking along the parade route has always been outlawed, Hartman said. For years police had turned a blind eye to public drinking; for the past two years they have stepped up enforcement. Hartman said the city plans to continue to do so.

Melissa Bailey Photo“We will now be enforcing public drinking laws,” warned Hartman (pictured).

“Unruly behavior is not going to be tolerated.”

The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Derby Ave and Chapel Street and heads downtown, ending just past the New Haven Green. The event is set to draw 3,600 marchers in 126 units, according to parade Grand Marshal Kevin Smith.

The average annual crowd hovers around 250,000, but given the forecast for Sunday—over 60 degrees and sunny skies—the parade could draw as many as 300,000 people to New Haven, said Smith (pictured).

Mayor John DeStefano said the event marks “the opening of spring” and is “one of the things that distinctly makes us New Haven.”

“We want people to enjoy the day,” he said, “and to do so responsibly.”

Hartman said the city plans to hire an extra 100 cops to patrol the area Sunday.

The parade will be billed for overtime costs after the parade, Smith said. The bill typically runs from $26,000 to $30,000, he said.

Visit the parade website for info on parking, and click here to learn about street closures.

And click here to read about how a fifth-generation Knight is marching home this year.

Chad Lyons Photo /

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 8, 2012  5:34pm

They will never stop it.