Viewpoint: Fights Stop Fireworks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Viewpoint: Fights Stop Fireworks

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The hooligans who went rampaging downtown on the Fourth of July, disrupted what's supposed to be a fun event, and a public display of honor and patriotism.

It brought shame to the city of Albany, and caused a near panic in families who were there with their children, to see the fireworks display that thousands anticipate each year.

The story made the state wires, and re-enforced a negative perception of the city, and will stick in the minds of people that we want to frequent and patronize downtown.

We blame parents who don't take any interest in or responsibility for what their kids are doing, and those kids who have no regard for the rights of others.

We think that law enforcement can make their presence better seen before gatherings like this begin. Local law enforcement needs to be seen circulating through the crowd, making their presence felt. The police have two-wheeled devices and four wheelers that let them move quickly through the area.

The city still maintains a mounted officer division, and this is a perfect opportunity to put these officers and their animals on display, and show potential law breakers that they can run, but they cannot hide, downtown.

Officers of all local law enforcement agencies need to be obvious and prominent, and move through the crowds, and be conspicuous next year for the fireworks show, and any other large gatherings downtown.

When folks see that they will spend a few days in jail if they act out, their behavior is likely to improve.