TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga police will enforce the town open container law during the annual "Best Fourth in the North" celebration.
The town board formally "supported" enforcement of the law during its May 13 meeting with an eye on curbing alcohol use and abuse during the traditional July 4th weekend.
"The Fourth of July is a family event," Supervisor Deb Malaney said. "We don't sell alcohol in the park. I don't think there's a place for it."
Trustees agreed, voting unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of enforcement.
Trustee Wayne Taylor, chairman of the town public safety committee, brought the issue to the town board for discussion. He noted Ticonderoga has a law forbidding open containers of alcohol on streets, although it has often been overlooked during past celebrations.
Taylor said the local police department wanted direction on how to handle cases.
Matt Fuller, town attorney, said the law is on the books and it's not necessary for the town board to direct police to enforce a law. The board then voted to "support" enforcement.
"It's not a popular decision, but the way things are today we need to set parameters," trustee Steve Whitford said, expressing concerns about liability in the event of an alcohol-related incident.
Trustee Jeff Cook, who is the town's retired police chief, said drinking has long been a problem during July 4th festivities.
"This issue needs to be addressed," Cook said. "It's needed to be addressed for a long time."
"It's been going on for 40 years," he said.
Trustee Dorcey Crammond suggested police handle public drinking "diplomatically" during the holiday.
Fuller pointed out police always have discretion and can simply ask people to comply or issue a warning rather than make an arrest.
Malaney and Fuller noted a number of alcohol-related tragedies in the community during recent years.
"It's certainly not something we want to condone," Malaney said of alcohol use.