March 17th, 2014 | City

Police control crowd at St. Patricks festivities

On Sunday, about 200 New Haven Police Department officers were dispatched to control the crowds taking part in the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

In a Monday press release, department spokesman David Hartman said the security detail is typically necessary for celebrations of this scale. Several thousands of spectators were expected, as has been the case in past years. Though no major incidents took place in relation to the city-wide Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade, officers responded to 84 smaller situations, making about 20 arrests.

“We were prepared and kept the peace,” Hartman said in the release. “Officers remarked at how much more cooperative people have become in recent years.”

A point of emphasis throughout the day was alcohol safety, Hartman said. The state’s Department of Consumer Protection assigned around a dozen Liquor Control Commission agents to assist NHPD officers.

More than 40 individuals were brought to local hospitals via ambulance to be treated for alcohol-related problems. Of the 84 incidents handled by police, 36 involved underage drinking.

Still, Hartman said that the department was pleased the day passed with relative ease. While previous years have involved massive bar brawls, the 2014 parade never saw more than the occasional small skirmish. A major factor was an agreement between local bars and law enforcement to temporarily suspend liquor sales at 6 p.m., Hartman added.

“The break enables officers to persuade downtown visitors that hangovers are unpleasant and the best prevention is a good night’s rest,” Hartman said in the release.

By Monday morning, Downtown Special Services District and city Public Works Department crews were able to clear the streets, according to Hartman.

The first Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place in 1842.