Rochester police talk safety precautions for Jazz Fest

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The Rochester Jazz Fest is back after three years and once again fills the streets of downtown.

Organizers said months of planning go into an event like this, and for any large-scale event, security measures are also in place to ensure a good time.

Rochester Police Lt. Greg Bello said Jazz Fest might be one of the biggest events for them, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. Over the past few months, their special events unit has already participated in events like the Amerks Games and Lilac Fest.

Lt. Bello said they would have over 20 officers working at the event. In addition to festival security, officers will help pedestrians cross, assist drivers and walk around to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“With everything reopening, it’s great to bring so many people back downtown, it’s a festival that’s been in Rochester for years,” he said.

Some major areas of focus are pedestrian safety and safe driving. Especially after working hours, when everyone is going home.

“The Drunk Driving Factor. Obviously booze is on the line, we’re standing next to a giant Bud Light truck,” Bello said. “And that’s fine, have fun, but make sure you have a safe way home.”

Bello encouraged Lyft or Uber services, a designated driver or an RTS shuttle.

Bello said another aspect of the large-scale events is the nervousness some residents may be feeling and he understands the recent mass shootings, and local gun violence is on the minds of many. For some, crowds can be stressful.

However, he said the public should take comfort in knowing that his officers are ready for anything. He added that festival-goers’ job is to have fun and, as always, to bring something home.

“We’ve been planning this, as we go through major events, whenever there’s an operational plan for each of them,” Bello said. “We have years of experience in this area.”

For the police, it’s about constantly thinking and adapting. Once everything is done for the year, they will think about the next year.

“What worked well, what didn’t work well, what might be different next time,” he said.

During the festival there will be DWI patrols; a partnership between RPD and the New York State Police.

Bello said all officers are volunteering for this event, so the department will not be removing personnel from its regular patrol.


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Susan W. Lloyd