Extra security for weekend events following violence at Lilac Festival

Posted at: 05/24/2013 9:26 PM | Updated at: 05/24/2013 11:27 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri | WHEC.com

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It's Memorial Day weekend, a holiday many consider to be the unofficial start of summer. Kids and adults alike have time off and most want to spend it doing something fun.

For many people, it means spending time at the beach. Rochester Police say they're expecting a lot of people to head up to Charlotte over the course of the weekend. Especially with the Roc City Ribfest in town.

It's another big festival coming to our area and it's just on the heels of the Lilac Festival. Last Saturday, Rochester Police tell us they arrested twenty people for disorderly conduct after multiple fights broke out near the Lilac Festival site. Police tell us most of those arrested were teenagers, but with another big festival happening and the fact that it's another holiday weekend, we wanted to know what exactly police are doing to keep you and your family safe.

The Rochester Police Department tells News10NBC they are working with festival organizers in a number of different ways to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time.

First, there will be an increased number of officers in the area than in years past. To make sure nothing happens in the parking lot, police will be setting up a command post there. Also, the festival specifically is closed off and you need a ticket to get in.

Festival organizers and police told us that safety at the event is a top priority.

Tara Gregson, Marketing Director for the Roc City Ribfest says, "It is family friendly and we are here to make sure everyone is having a good time."

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard says, "We want people to come to enjoy the beach, but we want people to know we are going to take care of business when we need to."

And this weekend at Ontario Beach Park, Chief Sheppard says you could see more than twenty officers on ATV, horse and on-foot keeping an eye on everything. Festival organizers say the Rochester Police Department is great at keeping everyone safe and they work hand in hand with the festival's private security force.

Another thing organizers say helps control everything is the fact the whole festival is enclosed. It is a ticketed event, so there is only one way in and out. The first thing you pass is the security tent.

Organizers and police say it is all to make sure everyone enjoys themselves while staying safe.

Gregson says, "It's just beach, bands and BBQ. It's a lot of fun."

These are just a few things police and organizers will be doing to keep the festival safe. They said there are other ways too that, for security reasons, they are keeping secret.

If you are wondering what you can bring to Ribfest, the rules are pretty simple. No alcohol or pets are allowed. If you have any concerns about parking, there is a shuttle at Lake Shore Hockey Arena, which is on Ling Road in Greece. That costs just a dollar round trip.

Rochester Police also say they are also anticipating larger than usual crowds at Durand Beach this weekend and they are preparing in case something happens there.

In April, police say a 20-year-old man was stabbed several times during a fight at the beach. He later died from his injuries. Earlier this month, a 24-year-old man suffered a stab wound to the arm after an argument at the beach. Police say the two incidents are not related.

Chief Sheppard explained on Friday how they are planning to deal with the extra crowds.

He says, "We are also aware of the fact that Durand is a nice draw for people who want to jump in the water and not go to Charlotte. We anticipate that as well, and we will have resources for our East Division deployed there and they will have the ability to draw additional resources if needed."

Rochester Police are also bringing in some help. They tell us Parks Deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and Juvenile Probation Officers will be on patrol.


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