Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Police Saturate South Side to Safeguard New Year's Revelry as Merrymakers Toasted to 2016, Officers Celebrated Relatively Quiet Night

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Police Saturate South Side to Safeguard New Year's Revelry as Merrymakers Toasted to 2016, Officers Celebrated Relatively Quiet Night

Article excerpt

The savvy revelers who rang in the new year on East Carson Street went there Thursday night with a plan. Reservations in one of the clubs, friends to accompany them, and a safe, sensible way to get home.

The police who patrolled the neighborhood also had a plan. It's called "South Side Saturation," a tweaked version of an approach introduced two years ago that puts more officers on foot patrol.

At 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, as the thousands of celebrators vied for parking spaces and admission to Carson Street clubs, the police who would be patrolling the busiest blocks, between 12th and 18th streets, were gathered at the Zone 3 station in Allentown.

Sgt. Jim Glick and Sgt. Lee Myers met with the team of patrol officers they would be working with into the morning hours. They had hoped for as many as 20 extra officers for the South Side Saturation, but they started with just six -three teams of two officers on foot -because other zones were short of manpower. Still, another dozen promised to report within an hour.

Sgt. Glick, with 15 years on the force, and Sgt. Myers, with nine, coordinated the coverage from a police car.

"We have to be mobile, but the traffic here is pretty tough," Sgt. Glick said. "It takes us longer sometimes to respond to a scene in a car than we can on foot."

The patrol officers walk up and down Carson Street. They supplement the police presence that is exhibited in the uniformed officers working details outside various establishments, which pay for them to be there.

"Visibility is our main deterrent," Sgt. Glick said. "We're not supposed to be inside. They want us out front. And that's what works best. We want to saturate with uniformed officers, so you're going to see a cop everywhere you look, every couple of blocks."

"It's the classic cop-on-the-corner," Sgt. Myers said.

The approach serves as a deterrent, reminding people to be cool. And it quickly puts police at the scene of any problems.

The start of 2016 was marked as it is each year with cheers, toasts, horns and gunfire, though no one was reported injured. The last police response of 2015, called in before midnight, was recorded as incident No. …

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