AVALON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s anti-police legislation that hinders the capabilities of shore police departments to enforce law and order effectively has resulted in the limiting of hours of beach and boardwalk access in Avalon.
Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi has signed Executive Order 2021-07 that restricts access to the beach and boardwalk during certain hours until further notice. This is a continuance of the intent of Executive Order 2020-15 that closes the beach daily between the hours of 9:00 pm-4:00 am, and the boardwalk daily between the hours of 11:00 pm-4:00 am. The previous executive order was issued due to the declared New Jersey State of Emergency which continues through gubernatorial executive order until at least January 11, 2022.
“The continuance of this order is to provide our local police department with the necessary authority to disperse large groups of individuals who are congregating in unmanageable numbers on public property which often results in unsafe and disruptive behavior”, Pagliughi said. “This unfortunate measure is a direct result of Governor Murphy’s destruction of effective enforcement of laws pertaining to juveniles, and the elimination of certain police powers. Accountability and education begins at home, and some parents need to take an active approach in managing the activities and whereabouts of their juveniles. If they refuse, more drastic measures will be considered that would impact everyone as a result of actions of a few inconsiderate people”.
The Executive Order allows only police and other authorized personnel access to these public areas during restricted times. The Executive Order is in effect immediately. Recently, the beach and boardwalk have experienced vandalism to public property and excessive litter and debris created by large groups of individuals who congregate at night.
“State leaders approved new legislation that requires police, in many cases, to issue only curbside warnings to minors for ordinance and disorderly persons offenses where there is no breach of peace, even when alcohol or cannabis use or possession is involved”, said Avalon Police Chief Jeffrey Christopher. “For example, if a juvenile is in possession of drugs or alcohol, police can do nothing more than issue a warning, and the juvenile is not obligated to provide his or her actual name. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 20 can only be issued written warnings for using alcohol or cannabis. We remain hopeful that some parents become more involved and help us maintain the quality of life in our community despite the State’s new hands-off policies”.
Avalon Police will continue to use municipal and state laws to charge and prosecute individuals to the greatest extent the laws provide who participate in illegal behavior. Curfew ordinances have consistently been declared unconstitutional by New Jersey courts. “The State is directly responsible for unlawful conduct which compromises public safety”, Pagliughi said. “From juvenile justice reform, the elimination of bail in many cases to threats of charging police officers with third degree crimes for investigating potential offenses, the responsibility for the proliferation of this conduct starts where it was authorized, in the hands of the Governor who signs this legislation”.
Avalon Police have prepared a Frequently Asked Questions information piece regarding the State’s new, relaxed regulations involving the use of cannabis and alcohol. The information is posted on the front page of the municipal website, www.avalonboro.net.