Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 26, 2013

Local law enforcement says Artpark concert crowds pushing them to breaking point

Local law enforcement: Artpark crowds pushing them to breaking point

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

“We’re obligated to make sure we maintain safety in the community and keep the roads safe,” Stafford said. “We’re not discouraging (concertgoers) from having a good time, but we want them to be safe and responsible.”

Accomplishing that mission can be costly to the village and town of Lewiston.

“You can’t break the bank,” Stafford says of the sometimes daunting task he and fellow officers face.

Trying to help fill the manpower needs of the local police, Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour says he provides as much help as he can.

“We supplement (with patrol and auxiliary deputies) and so do the State Police,” Voutour said,”And we put the mounted division out.”

Undersheriff Michael Filicetti notes that sort of support does hit his budget’s bottom line.

“That’s the problem we have,” he said. “We have a budget and (supply manpower for the concerts) costs is extra This takes money from somewhere else.”

Voutour and Filicetii spent a recent Tuesday in the village before and during a concert. They saw they same problems that plague Robertson and his neighbors and the local cops.

“If (Lewiston Police) Chief (Christopher) Salada asks for help, we’re going to do whatever we can to help,” Voutour said. “But this is beyond what we budget for.”

The issue of providing additional support to local law enforcement to deal with concert related issues has been raised with Artpark officials before. Voutour said they were unresponsive.

“Artpark does nothing to support (public safety outside the park),” Voutour said. “Now that they charge (for the concerts), we suggested a $1 a ticket public safety surcharge. They weren’t interested.”

Attempts to discuss the burden of safety costs, outside the park during concerts, with Artpark officials were unsuccessful. Artpark President George Osbourne, through a spokesperson, told the Gazette he had “no comment” on the problem.

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