By Jen Cardone | The Duquesne Duke
No major incidents were reported during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
In a statement released by the Pittsburgh police department, there were 71 total arrests, 29 of which were “on-view,” with 21 occurring on the South Side. There were five summary arrests and 37 non-traffic arrests.
Police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said the department “called on the state liquor control board to help enforce the law of serving alcohol.” They also heavily enforced DUI laws and sent patrol chiefs on horseback to watch over neighborhoods with heavy traffic during the festivities after the parade.
Toler also explained that officers from Duquesne and Point Park universities “had personnel stationed along the parade route” with EMS on hand in case their assistance was required.
Zone 3 Lt. William Mathias was the supervisor of enforcing safety in the South Side during after-parade festivities.
“We had many officers on overtime to get strength in numbers,” Mathias said.
He said there were approximately 20,000 people in and out of South Side Saturday, so the police strategy was to section off four blocks with six to eight officers at each sector.
“We didn’t have any major incidents, so it was either successful or we got lucky…There were only a few fights, open containers and disorderly conduct,” Mathias said.
Parade Coordinator Patrick O’Brien estimated that 250,000 attended the celebration. Preparation for the event begins in September or October of the previous year, he said.
According to the Department of Public Safety, there were 23,000 people in the parade. Pittsburgh-area marching bands, politicians, local fire and police departments and Irish-heritage groups were among the participants.
The annual parade has risen to become one of the nation’s largest, according to a press release from the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.