Boston Police Ready Their Security for Red Sox-Yanks Game

Boston PD to deploy largest crowd-control force of any recent sports event


BOSTON -- Boston Police will deploy the largest crowd-control force of any recent sports event for this weekend's series between the Red Sox and New York Yankees, the Boston Globe reported Friday.

A deployment plan obtained by the Globe calls for 876 officers and commanders to be on duty for each of the three games, starting Friday night. Only 334 officers were deployed the night a college student was fatally shot by police during Red Sox celebrations last October.

The plan focuses on how to keep celebrations from getting out of control if Boston clinches a playoff berth. The Red Sox need a three-game sweep to win the American League East. They could force a one-game playoff in New York if they win two of three.

Police were badly outnumbered last Oct. 21 and fired pepper pellet guns into crowds. Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove was struck in the eye socket and killed by one of the pellets.

The department has been training officers to control crowds without using "less-lethal weapons," such as the pepper pellet gun that Boston Police banned after 21-year-old Snelgrove died.

Police officials would not comment to the newspaper or The Associated Press on Friday regarding security plans for the weekend. Seth Gitell, a spokesman for mayor Thomas Menino, also declined to comment.

The plan incorporates findings of an independent commission that investigated Snelgrove's death, the Globe reported. It calls for a platoon of riot control officers to be deployed on Lansdowne Street. The commission headed by former U.S. Attorney Donald Stern criticized police for failing to put riot officers on Lansdowne Street, where Snelgrove was shot.

One police commander was demoted and three officers were suspended this month as a result of the Snelgrove death investigation. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said this month that no criminal charges would be filed against the officers.

The department's internal investigation concluded that officials weren't prepared to control the tens of thousands of fans who gathered near Fenway Park to celebrate the Red Sox' elimination of the New York Yankees from the playoffs last October. The city paid the Snelgrove family a $5.1 million settlement in May.

Inside the park, fans will be reminded that there's a hotline to call if they have a security problem, team spokesman Charles Steinberg said.

"People do use that hotline. You can stop a situation before it becomes a problem," Steinberg said. "The overwhelming majority of fans want a very comfortable atmosphere."

(c) 2005 Associated Press