By Katie Thomas
June 3, 2003, 4:30 PM EDT
In one more defeat for promoters of a two-day rock concert scheduled for this weekend in Calverton, the New York State Police have informed the Suffolk County health department that it will not send troopers to help control crowds and traffic.
In a letter today to Robert Maimoni, a county health official, Lt. Col. James Schepperly of the state police said, "Our experience has been that several months' lead time is minimally necessary to develop comprehensive concert plans."
Riverhead Town's chief of police has said he would need about 200 extra officers to help his tiny force control the crowd of 50,000 expected over Saturday and Sunday. A lack of adequate law enforcement was the reason the Suffolk County health department denied a mass gathering permit for the concert last week. Two weeks ago, Suffolk County police declined to participate, citing concerns about the promoter's traffic plan and a lack of time to sign a deal with Riverhead town.
Bruce Williamson, chief of the health department's bureau of public health protection, said today the county was unlikely to reverse its decision on the permit. "I don't see anything that would provide a basis to change the decision," he said. "And the timing now is -- you know, the event is almost upon us."
The gates to the concert, which was to feature headliners such as the Beastie Boys and Radiohead, were scheduled to open at 3 p.m. Friday.
Gary Lewi, a spokesman for concert promoter Andrew Dreskin, said the news doesn't necessarily cancel the concert. "There are any number of different options that are available to us," he said, but declined to be more specific. Several other local law enforcement agencies have declined to help, citing either a lack of time or personnel.
The Riverhead Town Board is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to approve their own special events permit. Town officials declined to comment today, but yesterday Supervisor Robert Kozakiewicz said he would be hesitant to approve the permit if no law enforcement agencies had volunteered to help by the time the meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Suffolk County police and health departments have scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning to discuss the Field Day concert.
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