Dog days of summer police report
Police Chief Matt Moynihan gave his monthly update to the Town Council last week, reporting very little crime on the island in the previous four weeks. “We had three arrests; one domestic violence, one disorderly conduct, and one motor vehicle related arrest,” Moynihan said. The police department also issued 26 court summonses and 112 parking tickets.
The chief told the council there had been 70 motor vehicle enforcement stops, but emphasized that the officers on patrol and the Community Safety Officers have many more interactions with the public that result in corrective behaviors but do not result in a police
report. He mentioned sending moped riders back to the rental agency to acquire protective eyewear as one of these types of encounters.
Moynihan reported shoplifters were apprehended at a 95 percent rate, and he was experiencing “good cooperation and feedback from the shop keepers.”
Traffic accidents are down, at least those involving mopeds. Moynihan reported 13 moped accidents in the four-week period, bringing the total at the mid-point of August to 41. There were 53 total moped accidents last year. Of the 13 accidents, 12 of them were single moped accidents, with only one of the accidents involving another vehicle. Eleven out of the 13 accidents involved solo riders, and there were eight total injuries associated with all moped accidents for the past month. Moynihan reported six mopeds were confiscated by the moped rental companies for violations of their contracts, citing the continued cooperation of the rental businesses with the police department.
The CSO program has been lauded throughout the summer, but it is quickly drawing to a close, with five of the CSOs returning to school, leaving three on the island for Labor Day. “The CSOs have been great, and we hope to expand that program in the future,” the chief said. CSOs have been highly visible throughout the summer, directing traffic, helping tourists find the crosswalks, monitoring parking, and helping the police department provide a robust presence in the downtown area.
Council member Keith Stover told the chief the town would be looking at what infrastructure needs the department might have, mentioning the desire to get the “right level of staffing.” He also asked if there was any way to reduce the excessive drinking on the island.
The chief responded: “In the morning everyone comes to the island and they spread out to the beaches and different establishments. There’s the mad rush of the afternoon and alcohol is really present and noticeable with problems. We’re looking forward to going into the fall and winter and planning with what we’ve learned.”
Council member Martha Ball said she was “seeing a turn, thank God.” She went on to say there are “more people out here, but the general tenor is better.”
Ball also said she was “hoping Block Island can be one of the towns where the anti-police feeling that was so prevalent last summer is waning.”
Moynihan agreed, telling the council that every day people are telling him and his officers how much they appreciate the work they are doing. “Hopefully that’s a nationwide change, not just here on the island,” he said.
Town Manager Maryanne Crawford informed the council that negotiations between the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local 720, and the Town of New Shoreham had reached an agreement calling for an annual wage increase of two percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 and 0.5 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, for all lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, patrolmen, and patrolmen/ harbormaster. The negotiations had been initiated prior to the Covid pandemic, during the previous police administration. The raises, in total, will cost $9,167 for Fiscal Year 2022, and $11,326 for Fiscal Year 2023.