Ocean City Police To Detain Teens for Breach of Peace

Officials in Ocean City, New Jersey, a dry community, are planning to crack down on gatherings of underage revelers this summer. The city has given police the authority to detain anyone under the age of 18 for “breach of peace” violations.

A recently approved ordinance would allow officers to detain anyone aged 17-and-under for a wide variety of offenses, such as violating curfew, causing excessive noise or simply acting in a “loud, indecent, obscene or offensive manner” on beaches, boardwalks, and recreational areas.

Ocean City Police To Detain Teens for Breach of Peace

Ocean City Police To Detain Teens for Breach of Peace

No businesses would be permitted to allow teens, unaccompanied by a relative or guardian, to “loiter, idle, wander, stroll, play in, remain in or be upon” after curfew times, although there are exceptions for teenaged workers.

The legislation also addresses issues with where bicycles can be ridden, deterring littering, public consumption of alcohol and usage of fireworks.

City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson explained, “We are just trying to give the police additional tools in maintaining the peace during the summer months when it’s so busy in Ocean City.”

The legislation notes curfews of 10:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. will be in place through May 15th. In summer, from May 16 through September 30, curfews will extend from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. Teens would not be arrested for these violations and no charges would be filed, but youths could be detained by officers of the Ocean City Police and held at the station until a parent or guardian could be contacted to pick them up.

During the meeting, community residents praised the move, with one homeowner saying she “totally” supported it. Other residents who addressed the council supported the measure, with some calling for the legislation to be extended island-wide, instead of solely focused on beaches, boardwalks, and recreational areas.

Also See: Stephen’s Restaurant Is Coming to Wildwood

Councilmember Bobby Barr agreed, expressing his support of the effort and sharing his concern that teenagers have become a problem for the community. City Council voted unanimously to approve the bill.

During the recent meeting of City Council, Leonard C. Desiderio, mayor of Sea Isle City and director of the Cape May County Board of Commissioners, called the ordinance a “great first step.”

Desiderio told city officials that this impacts so many beachfront communities and he is currently working with state legislators in order to put together a plan to address it.

He said he will also be scheduling quarterly meetings with mayors throughout Cape May County to look at how to address issues with “rowdy” youth.

Many believe that this new ordinance should be in place over every shore town from Cape May up to Atlantic City.

Ocean City will be the first one to test out the system. If all goes swimmingly it could become standard across Cape May County.