Hartford police prepping for traffic, drinking enforcement at concert

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HARTFORD —  Police are preparing for Friday night’s Florida Georgia Line concert at the Xfinity Theater and putting out a strong warning to both parents and potential underage drinkers.

“To the parents that have teenagers coming in here to Hartford and expect them to make good decisions do not expect that.  This is an environment that is ripe for a teenager to make a poor decision, there’s alcohol everywhere,” Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley said during a press conference on that matter.

Foley emphasized police enforcements will be heightened.

“We will have in excess of 90 officers at the concert which is the most we’ve had that I can remember,” Foley said.  He went on to say those officers will cover traffic detail, liquor enforcement and there will be undercover officers patrolling.  Police will also be detailing the extremity parking lots not owned by the Xfinity Theater.

“We know what a party concert is ok? Chance the Rapper is a party concert. Florida Georgia Line is a party concert,” he said.

The added police enforcement will be going into place following the Chance the Rapper concert that was held at the venue back in July.  Nearly 100 young people were taken to area hospitals before and during that show, with the majority receiving medical treatment for severe intoxication.

“It feels sometimes like a caravan with the ambulances coming one after another after another,” Dr. John Brancato, Assistant Director of the Emergency Department at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said.  Brancato was working the night of the Chance the Rapper show and said they are heavily staffed in preparation for this Friday’s event.

“This is not new that teenagers sneak and drink but the nature of how these kids are drinking is really dangerous, this large amount significant alcohol, short span of time is really, really dangerous,” Brancato explained.

His advice to parents is to talk to their teens about the dangers of underage drinking and not to be naïve that your teen may be one of the ones in the concert crowd using alcohol.  His warning was also echoed by police.

“If you’re dropping your kid off don’t drop them off in the parking lot to run wild, please bring them to the gate and watch them go inside,” Foley said.

Foley told FOX61 the officers scheduled for Friday night’s event are being paid for by the concert venue and through a Department of Transportation grant.