Cops' Splash Action Viewed `Rather Be Over-Prepared Than Not Prepared at All'

By Thomas, Adam | The Florida Times Union, April 20, 1996 | Go to article overview

Cops' Splash Action Viewed `Rather Be Over-Prepared Than Not Prepared at All'


Thomas, Adam, The Florida Times Union


JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- During the Jam Splash weekend, police

patrolled the Beaches by car, by foot, on all-terrain vehicles,

on motorcycle, on horse and on bike. Police were everywhere.

But a well-publicized plan to keep traffic off First Street

never went into effect and bumper-to-bumper traffic inundated

the two-lane road through much of the city. While the city has an

anti-cruising ordinance, it was not enforced. A zero-tolerance

drinking policy also was relaxed.

Despite the lack of enforcement, many First Street residents

praised police for their efforts in controlling crowds and

traffic.

"I would rather be over-prepared than not prepared at all,"

said Joan Simpson, who lives on First Street at 15th Avenue

South. Simpson called the police presence excellent.

John Way, who lives at the Ocean View Apartments on the corner

of First Street at Seventh Avenue North, said that while the

number of police officers was intimidating, they "did a good

job" handling the Jam Splash crowds.

But some First Street residents thought the police did not do

enough.

"It was like a zoo," said Shane Mariano, whose home on First

Street near Second Avenue South was at the center of Jam Splash

and Springing the Blues crowds. Ray Rosende, who came to visit

Mariano over the weekend, said crowds mobbed around his car,

stared in the windows and made it impossible for him to drive.

He said police finally had to escort them out of the mob.

"There weren't enough cops," Rosende said. "They didn't do

enough."

Dave Hart, who owns a surf shop on South Third Street, at

Monday night's City Council meeting criticized how the police

handled the Jam Splash crowd.

"Everything he [Police Chief Bruce Thomason] told us -- at

least in my view -- he turned around and did the opposite," Hart

said. …

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