Fairfield police believe Saturday at this year’s Clam Jam thanks to an increased police presence and cooperation between the department, Bridgeport police, and the Lantern Point Association.
Clam Jam, a pre-graduation bash hosted by Fairfield University students who live in Lantern Point, has historically drawn massive crowds of 2,000 to 3,000 to the neighborhood, according to Police Chief Gary MacNamara.
limited the number of guests in that area for any given party to 250, but Clam Jam annually surpasses that number.
MacNamara estimated this year’s attendance peaked at less than 1,000.
The department took a “different approach” this year, MacNamara said. Based on chatter of the event spreading to Sacred Heart University students also residing in the area, police were determined to curb a large event fueled by alcohol “that has the potential to become tragic.”
“I think the steps put into place helped us manage an event that could become unsafe, “McNamara said. He added that the department received positive feedback from residents in the Fairfield Beach/Reef Road area.
“It would be irresponsible of us to allow an event like that to grow unfettered,” MacNamara continued.
Police gave students and residents in the Fairfield Beach Road area a 24-hour heads up starting Friday with the department’s electronic message board, which read “Zero Tolerance Laws Strictly Enforced,” Capt. Joshua Zabin said. Zabin helmed the effort this year to quell Clam Jam.
DUI checkpoints at Fairfield Beach Road and Reef Road were set up all day, as well as a temporary tow zone on the four blocks around the beach. Bridgeport police assisted with six officers from the department’s mounted unit.
“The mounted unit was a tremendous asset to set up a police presence for anyone who entered the area,” Zabin said.
Lantern Point privately hired seven Fairfield police officers to oversee the party, which began at 9:30 a.m. and was broken up without incident at 4:30 p.m., Zabin said.
The department itself had four officers posted on Fairfield Beach Road and two officers on bikes keeping watch, Zabin said. Officers deployed at the perimeter of Fairfield Beach Road were there to “lessen the impact of violations and criminal trespass in the neighborhood,” Zabin said.