by Terry Duffy
Tuesday's CCR concert at Artpark generally was seen as a pretty well behaved affair in the eyes of area law enforcement.
The lone exception to that would be a large number of arrests reported outside the concert facility for open container violations.
Crowds numbering close to 16,000, according to Lewiston Police and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, filled the Artpark Outdoor Amphitheater Tuesday evening to experience Creedence Clearwater Revisited. And police, overall, reported few problems, minus the open container arrests.
"More people, definitely," said Lewiston Police Chief Chris Salada. "Generally it went pretty smoothly."
Salada reported there were 43 arrests of concertgoers found having open containers of alcohol on village streets leading to Artpark. The majority took place in a two-hour period from 5:50 to 7:50 p.m. on neighboring streets adjacent to Artpark. Ages of individuals listed ranged from 17 to 62 years old. No hometowns were listed. Salada said all were individuals apparently walking to Artpark from their cars.
Salada did not report any driving while intoxicated arrests, fights or other disturbances. There was one open container arrest after the show plus a report of an intoxicated male at Tops, and that individual was given a ride home by relatives.
He said all area police agencies were out in force at Artpark as part of a new concerted effort to curb any problems. On patrol Tuesday on village streets were 15 LPD officers, two NCSO patrol cars, two NCSO deputies on bikes, four NCSO horse patrols and four to six auxiliary officers assigned to traffic details, two State Police cars and two U.S. Border Patrol cars.
Salada added there were some traffic issues with concertgoers opting to take short cuts through village streets rather than utilizing new routes designed to facilitate traffic flow.
Mike Filicetti, administrative captain of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, agreed with Salada that overall the CCR crowd was well behaved. "I think it's going better this year," said Filicetti. "There's more coordination among agencies. Our patrols are working."
Filicetti said NSCO had four arrests at the CCR show, for open containers, under age drinking and for traffic infractions. He said that was an improvement from the Blue Oyster Cult concert a week earlier which saw eight arrests, including a DWI arrest and open container violations.
New York State Police did not report any significant arrests from the concert. State Parks Police, which covers enforcement inside Artpark with private security, likewise did not report anything major.
As mentioned the lone exception was the open container arrests, which Salada termed a violation of village ordinance, but not a crime. He said all LPD arrests resulted in appearance tickets issued to violators, requiring a town court visit and likely imposition of a fine.
Nonetheless, Salada wants the word out that carrying an open container is not permitted whatsoever on village streets or anywhere else in the town and that Lewiston Police will be fully enforcing the measure. "Open containers statewide, are not permitted," said Salada. He said the only exceptions are for preauthorized events where there is a road closure or a street cordoned off for a specific event, which requires approval of the State Liquor Authority.
Otherwise those in violation can and will face arrest. "We'll be out there," said Salada.