October 10, 2012 | 835 views
Irish Day went ‘smoothly’
City officials say that agreement with bar owners, AOH improved annual event
Long Beach police officers made 11 arrests and issued 86 summonses during Irish Day festivities last Saturday, in what city officials described as a more controlled event than in past years.
Irish Day was nearly canceled last month, after residents demanded that the city address a number of quality-of-life issues that arise in the West End each year after the parade.
City officials said that Long Beach could no longer assume all of the costs associated with the event, but reached an agreement with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which organizes the parade and festival, and the Historic West End Business Association, to scale back the event’s hours.
The parade began an hour earlier on Saturday, at 11 a.m., in order to help the Police Department clear the streets earlier. And bars began closing at 1 a.m. on Sunday instead of 4 a.m. Police Commissioner Mike Tangney said that the changes not only helped reduce the number of late-night incidents, but also reduced the city’s overtime costs.
A number of businesses agreed to pay the city a total of $25,000 to help cover police and sanitation overtime costs. As a result of all of the changes, City Manager Jack Schnirman said, the event was expected to cost the city approximately $60,000 this year, significantly less than in years past, when the total cost climbed to more than $100,000. The final figures were not yet available as the Herald went to press.
“We really enacted a zero-tolerance approach to this event,” Tangney said, adding that there were more summonses and arrests this year than in the past.
Fifty-three officers were assigned to Irish Day, in addition to those on regular patrol. Tangney said that in order to make the event more family-friendly, the department sent a clear message to festival-goers before the parade that bad behavior would not be tolerated.
“We had dramatically less red cups,” he said. “Anyone with a container was issued a summons, and a questionable beverage was ordered to be poured out.”