The power of a uniform
“Our beach was perfectly calm,” said Barbara MacMullan, chair of the Block Island Land Trust the day after the 8-hour long Reggae Fest at Ballard’s Beach Resort. The beach in reference is just south of Ballard’s beach and under-age drinking has been a problem there in the past.
On July 4, there was a large party at the site, prompting Police Chief Matthew Moynihan to ask the board to hire a security guard to monitor the Land Trust’s property that contains a path to the shore. He suggested the security guard could inspect back packs and coolers for alcohol and confiscate it if necessary.
The Land Trust’s meeting on August 10, the first in-person meeting in a year-and-a-half, gave the members a chance to evaluate, although Scott Comings, of The Nature Conservancy said: “It could be a one and done,” given the increasing rates of Covid.
It turns out such dramatic actions as search and seizure aren’t necessary. MacMullan said she had talked to the security guard who told her: “They see us in uniform and they just turn and walk the other way.”
MacMullan said they hired “Bob from Metro Security,” the same company used by the Block Island Grocery, to work Fridays through Sundays.
“They love the detail,” said Trustee Harold “Turtle” Hatfield, noting it had been three weeks since they started.
The police department is also providing a presence by either regular or community service officers greeting visitors as they enter the Ocean View property where the path starts. This is timed to coincide with the arrival of the first ferries of the day, which are often packed with beach goers. Moynihan said at the Land Trust’s July meeting that he had observed plenty of teens leaving the ferry and heading directly over to that particular beach access path.
The Land Trust has also put up a sign informing visitors that alcohol is not allowed on its property. “It looks great,” said MacMullan, “if you like that kind of thing.”