Police to bulk up presence at East End bars this weekend

RPD generic sirens.jpg
(WHAM file photo)

(WHAM) - Officers with the Rochester Police Department will be more noticeably out in force this weekend in the city's East End bar district.

Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary said the decision is a response to the violence last weekend.

As patrons left bars around 1 a.m. Sunday, RPD officers and New York State Police started clearing out crowds of 800-1,000 people who were gathered near East Avenue and Alexander Street. Bottles and other objects were thrown at officers. People also fired guns in the crowd, hitting two men - ages 25 and 42 - in separate incidents.

Police arrested a 24-year-old Rochester woman for the bottle throwing.

MORE: After increase in calls, RPD steps up patrols in East End

Due to these incidents, officers will be setting up DWI checkpoints and have more lights in parking lots, along with more officers on patrol and added responses to "quality of life" issues.

Captain Dave Smith with the Rochester Police Department said Friday that they want people to come down and enjoy the restaurants and bars. But large groups of people cannot gather outside the businesses in the late night hours.

"Unfortunately, with crowds of this size, obviously there was no ability to social distance," Smith said. "No one was wearing masks. No one was really taking precautions. Because of the threat of COVID-19, and also the inherent threat that we have when we have crowds of this size, that tends of precipitate fights and things of that nature. We'll be increasing our presence this weekend."

Officers will also be checking to make sure the bars and restaurants are complying with state guidelines.

People going out across the city are reminded not to drink alcohol and drive, call for a ride if they need one, and to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.

Sapphire Courchaine, a manager at "Local's Only", agrees with the increased patrols.

“The more that we can communicate and work together – address our concerns with the proper government facilities – the more we’ll be able to get out of our businesses and provide our guests with the experience that they want," she said.