Hoboken police chief praises Mayor Bhalla for safety measures during rowdy fest

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Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Ravinder Bhalla, with supporters at a rally relating to use of the waterfront. (Photo: Twitter)

The Hoboken police say Indian-American Mayor Ravinder Bhalla’s measures let to reduced violence and misdemeanors during the famous Hoboken LepreCon 2018 festival celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, which fell this year on Saturday March 3.

“In my 25 years of policing in Hoboken, this was the calmest I have ever seen the first Saturday of March,” said Police Chief Ken Ferrante in a statement sent out by the City. “I am glad that no officers were injured during the event, and I thank Mayor Bhalla for supporting our officers and taking steps to ensure everyone’s safety,” Ferrante added, also thanking the city’s police officers for handling long day and long hours of work. Bhalla is the first Indian-American and first Sikh to be mayor of this city across the Hudson River from the Big Apple.

“After receiving a final report from Police Chief Ferrante and based on my observations during the day, I am pleased that there was a clear improvement in quality of life and safety throughout the city,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla in a statement. “I thank the bar owners and hospitality industry for working to make this a dramatically safer event and look forward to a collaborative relationship moving forward,” said the Mayor. Bhalla also thanked the Public Safety Task Force, law enforcement, and the hospitality industry, with whose help, he said, “We have delivered on the promise I made to improve public safety and quality of life during these ‘con’ events.”

Bhalla also thanked a host of other agencies not just in Hoboken but elsewhere for their help, including the Hoboken Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Parking Utility, and Environmental Services, and the police departments from North Bergen, Union City, Secaucus, Stevens, NJ Transit, Port Authority, and Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to data provided by the City of Hoboken, compared to 2017, arrests during LepreCon decreased by 64 percent (from 11 to 4), ambulance calls decreased by 18 percent (from 28 to 23), and calls for service decreased by 21 percent (from 488 to 386). City ordinance summons increased from 31 to 37.

There were 3 tavern reports on Saturday, compared to 24 during SantaCon in December, 2017. New Jersey and Hoboken ABC Inspectors reported no violations in any of the bars that were inspected, and the Hoboken Fire Department reported 100% compliance with code inspections, the City said.

Mayor Bhalla encouraged taking pre-emptive action in February as a result of which five popular bars were from the weekend’s pub crawl and some were even shut down after evaluations by the state Alcohol Beverage Control agency, a Feb. 23 press release from the Mayor’s office said. About a dozen ABC agents also patrolled the bars, cbslocal.com and other news outlets reported.

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