Beach police chief presents strategy for patrolling Oceanfront

Virginia Beach, Va. – More cameras and additional staffing – those were two of the proposals Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera gave to city council Tuesday afternoon to help officers better patrol the oceanfront.

The presentation to city council comes after a violent and chaotic weekend at the Oceanfront in April, when an event called “College Beach Weekend” drew as many as 40,000 people to the beach.

Numerous fights were reported and police say there were three shootings, stabbings and robberies.  People who work at the Oceanfront say fights actually broke out in their stores and some were forced to close up early.

Talking about what was learned from that weekend, Chief Cervera said “the biggest one was that we did not have the sufficient number of officers for not just the size of the crowd, because we have large crowds, but there was some demeanor in that particular crowd that we don’t normally see, so we will have a different strategy if the college kids come back next year.”

He declined to give details to NewsChannel 3 about what that strategy would be, saying some of it they’re still planning.

He did give some specific proposals to city council for other things, though.

One of those was for a new camera system.  Currently there are 19 cameras at the Oceanfront and not all of them work.  The chief says his goal is to have between 45 and 90. The cameras are monitored by Citizens Police Academy volunteers.

He also requested additional staffing, proposed some possible code changes for things like ABC licenses and said they need to brainstorm some ways to deal with their core problem area which is the area between 17th and 23rd Streets.  The chief says it’s where the majority of assaults and robberies at the Oceanfront take place and they need to find new strategies to deal with it, other than just adding more officers to that area.

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