N.J. town begins plainclothes police patrol to combat beach drinking

Public domain image.

Public domain image.

Plainclothes police officers are now patrolling beaches in one Cape May County municipality after an uptick in late summer liquor consumption.

Stone Harbor Police Chief Thomas Schutta said the decision is due to recent complaints, the Cape May County Herald reported.

Schutta reported at a recent borough council meeting that out of the 10 alcohol-related summons issued on beaches this summer, three have been from plainclothes officers, the report said.

In nearby Sea Isle City during an early June council meeting, residents complained about alcohol consumption on beaches over Memorial Day weekend.

The council members, who said police wrote numerous tickets for alcohol-related offenses during the holiday weekend, assured a strong police presence on the beach during the summer.

Sea Isle City also uses plainclothes officers, and the new police chief, Tom McQuillen, warned in May that beach drinking will no longer be acceptable, Sea Isle News reported.

McQuillen said beach drinking is also often coupled with boorish behavior, the report said.

Undercover officers walk the beach, look for any illegal activity, and call nearby uniformed officers to respond.

Most New Jersey coastal municipalities prohibit beach drinking.

In the southern Shore area, beach drinkers are more likely to receive a summons in Cape May County than Atlantic County, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

In 2017, no public consumption summons were issued in Longport or Margate, while Ventnor registered five, according to the report. In Cape May County’s Avalon, 27 were issued over this year’s Memorial Day weekend.

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