Tuesday, June 12, 2012
By Lucian McCarty
The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than 200 people received tickets or citations at the Dave Matthews Band concerts Friday and Saturday.

But with no felonies and only a smattering of misdemeanors, police and prosecutors are calling the weekend’s police presence successful.

Both weekend shows sold out, bringing 50,000 people to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

“In past years, the Dave Matthews Band concerts have resulted in serious felony cases,” said Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III, who cited a fatal, felony driving while intoxicated accident and a sexual assault at previous Dave Matthews Band concerts at SPAC.

“We were kind of holding our breath,” he said.

But thanks to an increased police presence at the concerts and the “zero-tolerance alcohol policy,” Murphy and police agreed that the weekend was a success.
“The general consensus is that it went very smoothly,” New York State Parks spokesman Dan Keefe said.

Police patrolled the parking lots, trails and paths and checked cars at the gate for alcohol, which officers confiscated.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department had eight officers making traffic stops each night.

Lt. John Catone said officers did not see any major increase in DWIs. “It seemed to go well,” he said.New York State Park Police alone issued 121 tickets and made 17 arrests. At the 2010 Dave Matthews Band concerts, they issued 152 tickets.

In all, 68 of the tickets they issued this year were citations for underage drinking, 10 were for unlawful possession of marijuana and 14 were for disorderly conduct, all violations. That compares to 145, 18 and seven for each of those violations, respectively, in 2010.

The rest of the tickets were for sundry crimes, including four for driving while intoxicated, one for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two forgeries and three assaults, all misdemeanors.

In addition, the state Department of Motor Vehicles sent field agents to the concert to check IDs. They netted 80 violation charges and confiscated forged IDs, many of the sophisticated variety ordered online from overseas forgers.

Similar IDs were confiscated by the Saratoga Springs Police Department in an April bust of Saratoga Springs High School students and recent graduates.

“Saratoga PD saturated the roads with checkpoints while the state park police patrolled the parking lots,” Murphy said. “The state DMV did an outstanding job keeping teenagers from drinking.”

The minors ticketed over the weekend at SPAC received violation citations. Murphy said as a result they may lose their license for up to a year, incur a fine and be required to take an alcohol-awareness class.

Only one woman was uncooperative, Murphy said, running into the crowd as her ID was confiscated. He said that individual is being sought by DMV investigators and will be charged with a felony.