Increased safety for Pride event
SCPD is taking measures seriously for tonight’s first Alive After Five
After local businesses and officials received several anonymous anti-gay mailings in an attempt to prevent the event, the Suffolk County Police Department has decided to up their security measures for the first Alive After Five of the season in Pride theme.
Though a plan has not been disclosed, SCPD inspector William Silva, commanding officer of the Fifth Precinct, said tactical plans are evaluated every year, after and prior to the Alive After Five events. Then, as incidents occur, which have been few and far between, they are addressed and manpower is adjusted accordingly.
The mailings that went out, he explained, fell under freedom of speech with no real threat. Nevertheless, he said, it was a concern and will be addressed as one.
Additionally, Blue Point Brewery, Silva said, will be hosting events at the same time as AAF, causing an increase in SCPD prevalence as well.
“The decision to increase manpower was reasonable for both the concerns and the expansion,” he said. “It was just a no-brainer.”
Though the number of increased officers was not disclosed, Silva stated that there would be both uniformed and plain-clothed officers.
“We are not anticipating anything will happen, but we’re ready for it,” he added.
Patchogue Village Public Safety will also be increasing their manpower, though will only be charged with manning the traffic posts. Garbage bags will be clear and trucks will block the roadways for additional safety, same as in previous years.
“As always, security and safety is a top priority when organizing Alive After Five. This year is no different,” said Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy. “Certainly, recent mailings have led us to add more safety personnel, but we have excellent working relationships with all our local public safety agencies, plus our own private security. We are all working together and confident we are prepared for anything.”
Mayor Paul Pontieri felt more of the same. He said he doesn’t suspect anything will happen, but is happy to know the police have been taking a serious position about it.
“They have it really well covered,” he assured, also noting that restaurant and business owners have been asked to keep a vigilant eye on things as well. “We have taken all the precautions we can. I don’t feel like anything will happen.”
Alive After Five is the chamber’s largest event of the year, attracting about 20,000 people each night. Remaining events will be held on July 11 honoring the armed services, July 25 for women in the arts and Aug. 8 celebrating cultural diversity.
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