Despite increased security as a result of a mass shooting incident at a garlic fest in California earlier this year, Saugerties Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. said this week that the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival “should be the same experience people have come to love.”
Both Costello and police chief Joe Sinagra said this week that those attending the two-day celebration of all things garlic this weekend will see a heavier police presence than in previous years and will be encouraged to report any suspicious activity with large yellow-and-black signs that read, “See something, say something.”
“We all get that sixth sense, and the hair stands up on the back of your neck. If something doesn’t seem or feel right, the authorities should be notified,” said Sinagra. “We’d rather have someone see something and say something than someone thinking that they should’ve said something in the aftermath. It’s not a bother, that’s what we’re there for. If there’s nothing, you aren’t in trouble for saying to police that something didn’t look right.”
The department will also keep an eye on the festival from above using drones, Sinagra said, and intend to enact a temporary flight restriction on the airspace above the festival. Saugerties police will be assisted by sheriff’s deputies, state environmental conservation police and state troopers in their coverage of the event. Sinagra did not disclose how many additional officers would be present.
Sinagra said that he had spoken with Gilroy, California Police Chief Scot Smithee about improvements to the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival’s security, and said Smithee told him that he was “impressed, especially with the drones.”
On July 28, a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in the northern California town in the heart of that state’s garlic-growing region, killing three and wounding 17 before taking his own life.