Supervisor Tallies Weekend Efforts to Keep the Peace

“The truth is our infrastructure, our personnel, our businesses, are all maxed out on a weekend like this,”

While it was no surprise that the Fourth of July weekend kept East Hampton Town police, code enforcement officers, and parks and recreation staff busy, Supervisor Larry Cantwell reported on exactly how busy they were at a town board work session on Tuesday. “The truth is our infrastructure, our personnel, our businesses, are all maxed out on a weekend like this,” he said. He commended the Police Department for its efforts.

Between 7 a.m. on Friday and Monday at the same time, police officers responded to 454 calls, he said, citing figures provided by East Hampton Town Police Chief Mike Sarlo. On Saturday night, in addition to managing the crowds flocking to fireworks shows in Montauk and Amagansett, police handled 96 calls between 3 and 11 p.m.

There were 18 arrests over the holiday weekend, seven of them by a driving-while-intoxicated task force on Saturday night. Two arrests for cocaine were made by officers on foot patrol in Montauk. The most serious police matter, Mr. Cantwell said, involved a taxi driver charged with felony assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, and harassment. A story on this appears elsewhere.

Police or traffic control officers issued 365 parking tickets over the weekend, and an additional 84 tickets to drivers allegedly breaking vehicle and traffic laws. Eleven summonses were issued for violations of the town code. Although there were 48 noise complaints over the weekend, only one involved a commercial establishment.

Mr. Cantwell said the Parks Department did a good job of picking up garbage from public cans at beaches and elsewhere, circulating to each spot continuously throughout the weekend, but many calls came in to Town Hall about garbage left on the beaches themselves, particularly around the Sloppy Tuna bar at Edison Beach in Montauk. There was, Mr. Cantwell said, “a collection of people behaving badly, in terms of litter.” He plans to discuss the issue with the Parks Department and beach patrols to determine “how we’re going to get a better handle on this going forward.”

Mr. Cantwell also reported on complaints made to the code enforcement office about alleged violations. In mid-June, he said, there were 491 complaints on the books — 58 about properties in Amagansett, 23 from Wainscott, 131 from East Hampton, 130 from Montauk, and 149 from Springs. He said 31 percent were  unfounded, that summonses were issued or the violations corrected for 23 percent, and that 46 percent were under investigation.

During a recent effort by police and code enforcement to check taxi drivers’ compliance with a revised licensing law, 40 to 60 summonses were issued, Mr. Cantwell said, showing that “there is an active effort to get that situation under control.” A review of Justice Court records, he said, showed that on June 30, 10 taxi owners or operators appeared in court to answer 21 summonses for violations; a total of $4,750 in fines related to the taxi law was levied that day.