Legis. Rob Calarco recently met with the commanding officer of the 5th Precinct and Patchogue Village officials to discuss how to combat problems "that have arisen with the increase of bars, restaurants, and music venues throughout the downtown," according to a press release from Calarco's office.
At recent Village Board meetings, business owners have expressed concerns about drunks causing destruction late at night on Main Street, especially on the weekends.
The 5th Precinct has increased the police presence in the Village with a newly created Whiskey Unit, a special team of three officers who are working 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. shifts on Thursdays through Saturdays, to address late-night issues directly, said Calarco, a Democrat who lives in Patchogue.
Police have taken aim at curbing disorderly conduct, such as drinking in public and urination and fighting, with those who have been cited with the former receiving automatic summonses, while those caught fighting or involved in any other disorderly conduct are arrested and will spend a night in jail, the press release from Calarco's office says.
Some residents and business owners have pegged the blame for the late night problems on The Emporium, the Railroad Avenue hotspot that has drawn large crowds since it opened in September, but Calarco disputed that notion.
“I think it’s important to note that no single establishment is responsible for these late-night problems," he said. "Most of the people enjoying the night life in Patchogue are doing the right thing. But we still have to deal with the five percent who are causing trouble. I commend our police and the Village for working together proactively to make sure that all the fun transpires safely and within the law."
Police have said the problems in the Village tend to begin at 11 p.m. as people begin leaving bars and then flare back up again at 4 a.m. after last-call when there is a dearth of taxi cabs available to get them off the streets and ferry them home safely.
According to Calarco, the 5th Precinct has heightened its visibility by parking its prisoner van, with chains visible, in the middle of the Village and having patrol cars parked along Main Street. Patchogue Village public safety officers are also partnering with the 5th Precinct officers on patrol to help keep things under control.
The Village is also bringing in Patchogue-based beer distributor Clare Rose to sponsor an upcoming training program, TIPS, at the Patchogue Theatre. The TIPS program exists to train servers and sellers how to recognize and intervene when they see alcohol-related problems as well as state and local regulations regarding serving people who are intoxicated.
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri said that his hope was that through education and close management, new bars in the area "will curtail the negative effects some of their patrons are having on Main Street."
“With progress comes growing pains," Pontieri said in a statement. "The Village carefully considers each new business application in Patchogue and measures the consequences to our neighborhoods and business community.
"The Village always works hard to minimize an establishment’s impacts on its neighbors and will continue to closely monitor and contain the late night activities on Main Street.”
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