By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. — In a newsletter message issued to the community, Sea Isle City mayor Leonard Desiderio announced that the city’s police presence will be increased for the remaining weeks of summer.
Desiderio cited “a number of issues related to large crowds” and “too many instances of destructive behavior” as reasons why the city needs to beef up its police presence for the remaining weeks of summer. As part of these measures, the mayor is now designating the “entire length of any beach entrance as a part of the beach,” which allows those areas to close at 10 p.m.
“While I understand that this is a statewide issue, as your mayor, my number one concern is with Sea Isle,” Mayor Desiderio wrote in his newsletter message. “This isn’t the first time we’ve had problems of this kind, and for the most part, the vast majority of our residents and visitors are good, law-abiding people. But everybody knows it only takes a few misguided individuals to create problems for all of us.”
The mayor has asked the city’s Chief of Police to “use all available resources to immediately increase police presence in the city.” The Cape May County Sheriff has also committed to helping provide the city with “additional manpower for the remaining weekends of summer,” according to the newsletter message. Desiderio is also asking business owners to consider limiting capacity and to work with law enforcement to post signage to enforce decreased capacity limits. He also asked condominium complex owners to add “no trespassing” signage to their properties.
Sea Isle City officials are working with the state’s Attorney General and Cape May County’s prosecutor to not just handle the large crowds, but support the police in their effort to enforce the law.
“Our objective is straightforward – to get the State and County to provide us with the necessary tools to more effectively handle the large crowds, and just as importantly, the tools to hold those who would do harm to people or property accountable for their actions,” the mayor wrote. “… I want it to be crystal clear to anyone who comes here – Sea Isle welcomes everyone; and all we ask for is respect. If you don’t know how to behave, this isn’t the place for you…and I want it to be crystal clear that this City stands together.”
Although some younger community members may be discouraged by the mayor’s recent decision to strengthen Sea Isle City’s police presence, others welcomed the response.
“I think the Mayor’s actions are absolutely justified. While none of these issues are particularly new to shore towns, it’s nice to see the Mayor listen and take immediate action to address concerns of residents,” Joe Pickard, a 26-year-old Sea Isle City resident who’s spent summers living in the shore town for his whole life, said. “Anything the Mayor can do to keep Sea Isle a prime vacation destination and help residents & visitors feel safe and relaxed on vacation is a welcome effort to me.”
Sea Isle City isn’t the first beach town to take strict measures against large crowds. Earlier this summer, Avalon’s mayor closed beaches and boardwalks overnight and released a strongly-worded statement about the state’s marijuana legalization policies in the process.
Though Labor Day weekend is considered by many as the unofficial end of summer, the autumnal equinox will officially draw the summer to a close on September 22 this year.
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