NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Narragansett Chief of Police Sean Corrigan presented a plan that calls for increased patrols of Narragansett’s beach and pier areas this summer, two weeks after police from several departments broke up a large fight on the town’s beach.
The chief said most of the planning was in progress before May 23, when police arrested eight people, including three juveniles, after a fight broke out on the town beach.
Police from Narragansett, North and South Kingstown, the state Department of Environmental Management and the state police responded to disperse a crowd of about 500 people who had come to the beach on a day when admission was free.
Part of the summer plan involves assigning a detective to patrol the beach and pier daily for a 90-day period. The 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift would cover the summer season. Also, two school resource officers will patrol the same area: one on days, the other in the evenings.
A community police officer will be assigned to the pier in the daytime, and the department also has 18 community service officers available for the season.
“They will be doing the parking enforcement and also some patrolling and watching the beach,” Corrigan told the Town Council Monday. “This will give us some dedicated personnel for the beach and surrounding area in addition to support from the patrol division.”
Then there’s equipment: police will make use of a new all-terrain vehicle to patrol the beach and help with water rescues, Corrigan said. Police will purchase the ATV after the Lions Club, Dunes Club and 100 Club each donated $5,000 toward it, he said. The police department spent a little more than $4,000 as well.
“This will give us a high visibility vehicle to use on the beach,” he said.
The department also has approval to buy “radar shields,” the electronic signs that show passing motorists their speed and flash a warning to them when they are driving faster than the posted limit.
“We’re going to put one on Boston Neck, another on South Pier Road and Kingstown Road to control speed coming into the pier,” Corrigan said. “We’ve found that to be a pretty effective tool at other locations.”
The state also plans to re-paint road striping on Boston Neck Road to better control speed, and the police also will use a new sound meter to keep noise levels down.
“We do get noise complaints after hours at the beach and surrounding areas,” Corrigan said.
Extra beach details will be in place on hot days and for special summer events, and the department also will use grant funds to do underage drinking checks and speed and distracted driving enforcement with a focus on the pier.
“Patrol will also assist beach management with anyone trespassing or becoming unruly on the beach,” Corrigan said.
Council members said the May 23 incident was an isolated event that rarely, if ever has happened in Narragansett before. Councilor Susan Cicilline Buonanno said the council has been flooded with emails after the incident. “It doesn’t happen regularly. It happened once maybe four or five years ago and was a much smaller event. I just want the public to know the beach is safe,” she said. “On a regular day when it’s staffed, it just doesn’t happen. It was a one-off event.”
The council approved the $19,000 purchase of the ATV later in the meeting. The council also approved a measure from Cicilline Buonanno to provide two police officers to the town beach to work with beach staff and monitor the beach on hot days prior to Memorial Day, as the weather dictates.