Buffalo police prepare for a busy weekend

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- NCAA fans are joining thousands of western New Yorkers out to celebrate all things Irish in the Queen City this weekend.

The 77th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Buffalo is expected to draw massive crowds; last year, tens of thousands of people flocked to Buffalo for the Delaware Avenue parade.

There will be Irish dancing, marching bands, and local law enforcement and fire groups.

“It seems like all of the celebrations this week have been larger than I have seen in previous years, so it gives us real bragging rights,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown at the Buffalo Irish Center Friday morning.

With March Madness fans also in town, crowd control and public safety are a top priority for Buffalo Police this weekend.

“We’re asking people to utilize public transportation as much as possible, try and arrive a little bit early so you miss the crowd trying to get there at the last minute,” said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo of Sunday’s parade.

“As always, bring personal items to a minimum, as far as leaving stuff in your car make sure you lock valuables and GPS devices inside your trunk.”

Rinaldo noted every year, the department tweaks its approach to the parade based on what worked and what didn’t the year before.

He couldn’t go into specific numbers for safety reasons, but said there will be “numerous’ police details in downtown Buffalo this weekend.

“We’ve been very fortunate other than minor issues with some disorderly conduct, we’ve had a very good history of managing the parade,” he said.

Open container laws will be strictly enforced, and officers will also be on the lookout for drinking and drivers.

“If you are going to be drinking at bars and at private parties that day, please use taxi cab services, do not drive and drink. The last thing we want is a tragedy that day,” Lt. Rinaldo told News 4.

The parade beings at 2 p.m. Sunday at Niagara Square and goes down Delaware Avenue.

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