Police mull booze ban’s manpower effect

June 12, 1991 No Comments

Joe Hughes. San Diego Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Jun 12, 1991. pg. B.1

San Diego police are trying to determine whether enforcement of the new emergency beach booze ban will require more officers to do the job.

The ordinance banning alcohol at night at city beaches and imposing 24-hour drinking bans at several parks and oceanfront boardwalks went into effect immediately after being enacted by the San Diego City Council Monday.

“We won’t know any answers until an enforcement plan is drawn,” said Capt. Jim Sing, northern division commander. “I have yet to see the new ordinance.”

Until the plan is made, police are using existing resources drawn from routine beat officers and the 21-member beach team, which is equipped with all-terrain vehicles, bicycles and scooters.

In the weeks before the ban, police video taped drinking beach visitors to demonstrate “the bizarre conduct associated with alcohol consumption,” Sing said.

The tapes are being reviewed to support the city’s case that an emergency ordinance is warranted, just in case of a court challenge, officials said. The tapes also are used to help officers train for beach enforcement.

No arrests or problems were reported in connection with the new beach booze ban yesterday — the first full day the ordinance was on the books.

Police said that a few people had to be warned that they no longer can drink alcohol on the Mission Beach boardwalk.

One of those warned was a slightly tipsy man who was found sitting on the sea wall near Belmont Park drinking rum out of a soft drink can, police said.

Others drinking alcohol on the sea wall or boardwalk in front of the Mission Beach roller coaster either went onto the beach — where booze is still permitted from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m — or left the area when approached by officers.

Some did their drinking at establishments along the boardwalk or on side streets.

Low clouds and cool temperatures kept down the crowds and drinking much of the day.

Under the ordinance, police now are charged with enforcing several partial or total booze bans on parks, beaches and boardwalks from Sunset Cliffs to Torrey Pines.

The old ordinance generally barred drinking between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at most beaches and parks.

Police also have added responsibilities in opening, closing and patrolling several beach-area parking lots.

On the popular Mission Beach boardwalk, where there now is a 24- hour alcohol ban, drinking is still allowed on the sandy areas directly adjacent to the boardwalk, but only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Booze also is prohibited at all times at La Jolla Shores, the boardwalk at the Ocean Beach pier, Kellogg Park, Pacific Beach Park, Mission Beach Park, South Mission Beach Park, Ocean Beach Park and North Park Community Park.

Lots being closed include those at Bonita Cove and Ventura Cove from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. near the area where two men were stabbed to death in a parking area adjacent to the Bahia Resort Hotel.

The June 1 double homicide, which remains unsolved, focused more concern on growing beach violence and led to enactment of the emergency measures by City Manager Jack McGrory, who decided to close four Mission Beach lots after the crimes.

Police also are now responsible for locking and unlocking several gated parking areas where parking and drinking no longer will be permitted after 10 p.m.

It has not been determined if existing beach-area officers will be able to handle the added responsibilities. City Park and Recreation Department employees may help with some parking lot closures.

There also may be some confusion until new signs go up. Some old signs now contradict new laws.

A sign at Sun Gold Point, in Bird Rock, warns of no alcohol consumption in the parking lot. There is no parking lot.

And signs at Fiesta Island say the lot is either closed at 10 p.m. or 2 a.m. Violators are towed away and fined $50 in either case.

Sing said officers from other areas of the city also are making what he called periodic “direct runs” to the beach, where two-to-a- car officer units split up for short periods.

Credit: Tribune Staff Writer

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