Huntington Beach

Gold medals of praise for the HBPD

POLICE OFFICER watches over the beach during the U.S. Open of Surfing (HBPD photo).

POLICE OFFICER watches over the beach during the U.S. Open of Surfing (HBPD photo).

By Jim Tortolano

The surfers, skaters and BMX bike riders weren’t the only people getting honored because of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, held over the last week and a half in Huntington Beach.

At Monday’s meeting of the city council, the police department of Surf City came in for many pats on the back for its handling of the nine-day event, which brought tens of thousands of tourists – and a host of law enforcement challenges – to the downtown and pier area.

HB color logo letters3Councilman William O’Connell praised the officers, saying “I visited the area several times, and I was pretty impressed by the police presence. You did a great job.” Mayor Jim Katapolis echoed the sentiment, saying “It felt very safe down there.”

Police chief Rob Handy addressed the council, saying the event was “very well-attended” and that the HBPD, together with other city departments and the event organizers worked to “change the perception of the U.S. Open so it was more of a family-friendly event.”

In some years past, and especially in 2013, rowdy behavior broke out and there were confrontations between police and attendees, many of whom appeared to be intoxicated.

HBPD-shoulder-patch-61r1w3vwjfrooiczqaavs0v9sfkbt6pers44yteieg2Handy lauded the officers who were willing to work extra-long schedules to provide the area with plenty of security and traffic control. “We had some officers who worked 11-hour shifts for nine days in a row,” he said.

Arrests on the beach were about the same as in 2015, Handy told the council, but down at the actual venues and up in the downtown area. Alcohol and traffic citations – including DUI arrests – were up, but that was related to increased enforcement efforts by the department, Handy said.

1 reply »

  1. The cops behaved like bullies! The cops and the Vans security teams harassed and intimidated anyone they judged as being on the “fringe of society.” You were a target for them if you were a not a clean cut preppy skater, looked like you were down on your luck, or LGBT. You didn’t commit any crimes, no problem we will make some [stuff] up as a reason to try to get you out of here. Yes, I am sure this is what they mean by trying to make it a more family friendly affair. Great job!

    One example: A fight breaks out. The call comes in over the police radio that there is a large fight and they need all available officers to report to the skating area. The next order that comes over the radio is to “walk not run” to the skating area. They repeated it several times. There is a fight and the public is at risk, please take your time!

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