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A night at the Spa

Police officers wear many hats when patrolling the evening crowds in downtown Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs hasn’t always had the bustling downtown it has today, but these days, it’s a city to envy. While the secret to its success isn’t any one thing, one major factor may have something to do with those who keep it safe.

Saratoga Springs hasn’t always had the bustling downtown it has today, but these days, it’s a city to envy. While the secret to its success isn’t any one thing, one major factor may have something to do with those who keep it safe. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Saratoga Springs hasn’t always had the bustling downtown it has today, but these days, it’s a city to envy. While the secret to its success isn’t any one thing, one major factor may have something to do with those who keep it safe.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department has been ensuring that safety since June 1, 1887, when eight officers set out on the firstofficial patrol. Today the force staffs 65 officers (the City Charter allows72), and all along, it has shifted with the needs of the city.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure that everyone here is safe in their person and in their property – and in that order,” said Lt. Sean Briscoe.

Taking it to the streetsPedestrian traffic can be heavy along Saratoga’s streets on a summer Friday evening. All directions lead to a robust nightlife, and patrolling the metropolis has its challenges.

On either side of the dinner hour, you’ll likely see a mixeddemographic with a heavy smattering of families. Between 10 and 11 p.m. the crowd makeup shifts and becomes populated with more nightclub and bar patrons until 4 a.m.

“There’s a certain dynamic there. It’s evolved on its own. That’s how the city works,” said Capt. Michael Chowske, while traveling the city’s streets in a patrol car Friday, Aug. 10, during a shift that would last into early Saturday morning. “The biggest thing I’m looking for is the music can’t be so loud that it’s bothering the residential neighborhood. That’s a big complaint we get right now.”

The city’s noise ordinance and last call have been discussed at length in recent months among the department, the public and elected officials. Chowske said that the ordinance is a little vague, though most “hang their hats” on the part of it that says they have until midnight on the weekends to make noise in the business district.

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