High-Risk Hootie

A recent Hootie & The Blowfish concert in Stamford, Conn., was labeled high risk by the city’s police union, which has filed complaints with both the police chief and city for risking the safety of the public and the 30 officers assigned to the event.

The August 3rd show, a finale to a free summer concert series organized by the Downtown Special Services District, was hosted in Columbus Park and drew thousands, although the exact number was unclear.

The concert was nearly canceled when a downtown power failure occurred, but two backup generators were brought in and the OK was given to proceed with the event, according to the Stamford Advocate.

Police Chief Brent Larrabee estimated the crowd at 3,000 to 4,000 people, a picture estimate by the DSSD estimated 6,000, and a private investigator hired by the police union counted 10,000 people, the Advocate said.

Union president Michael Merenda told the paper the union’s contract was violated because the combination of the power outage, large crowd and serving of alcohol warranted at least 40 cops being assigned to the event.

DSSD Director Sandy Goldstein said the city hired as many officers as Larrabee estimated were needed to control the crowd, and the blackout was an occurrence they couldn’t have planned for, the paper reported.

“We hired as we were told,” she said. “If I go by [what we did] in the past, fewer officers were required, but since the chief asked me to hire more, I did.”