Police memo: 578 calls for service, 26 arrests during College Beach Weekend

Posted at 12:38 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 17:01:41-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A memo from the Virginia Beach Police Chief of Police to the city manager says there were 578 calls for service to the Oceanfront during College Beach Weekend.

News 3 obtained the memo Monday morning.

From Friday through Saturday, the memo states that officers answered 372 calls for service and initiated an additional 206 calls for service, for a total of 578 calls for service at the oceanfront.

Several of the calls for service involved very large crowds of people, running, screaming and seeking the police officers to engage them.

Chief James Cervera noted that officers remained disciplined and monitored the crowds, managing the flow of the pedestrians to open spaces as best possible, but the activities appeared to be orchestrated as many of the crowd verbally encouraged the officers to ‘chase’ the crowd.

In addition to a shooting involving four people and stabbing on Saturday, the memo stated that two officers were assaulted while making arrests on Friday night. Neither officer required hospitalization.

Officers also responded to a large fight at the Days Inn on Saturday and a report of a suspect shooting a gun four times into the air, but fortunately, no one was injured.

There were also many observations of people openly carrying handguns.

President of the Virginia Beach Benevolent Association, Brian Luciano, says manpower is an issue in these types of situations. If an officer makes a physical arrest, it takes him or her off of the street for at least two hours.

“You’re policing through triage, you’re out there and you have to pick the violation that is most important that you need to deal with at that time,” he says. “You think can I salvage it with a warning, can I issue a summons, or do I have to make a physical arrest and that’s unfortunate because that violator may be a violator later in the evening.”

The memo states that police brought in additional resources and programs including student ambassadors, members from various college communities, the Department of Justice and the Human Rights Commission to monitor our enforcement activities.

It states that 80 officers were deployed to the oceanfront for day operations, and bout 250 police officers were deployed for night operations.

In addition, each precinct identified a team of one supervisor and six officers who would respond to the oceanfront, if needed. On Saturday night, three teams were deployed and evening shift officers in every precinct were held over until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday.

“Officers were pulled out of Kempsville, they were pulled out of Pungo, so while there may be officers at the oceanfront to deal with this issue, there’s less officers to deal with our own citizens and our own taxpayers,” says Luciano. “That should be a concern to everyone.”

Police believe this was the largest crowd brought into the resort area due to College Beach Weekend activities.

Luciano feels something needs to be done before next year. Thousands of people also signed a petition calling on College Beach Weekend to end.

In a statement, the City Manager, Dave Hansen, said:

“Understandably, residents are expressing concerns about what this one unsanctioned event is doing to the reputation and physical appearance of our great city. While we assess the weekend and what actions to take moving forward, it is critically important that we not allow one weekend to take away from what Virginia Beach is: a safe, clean and beautiful place where families live and visit.”

Hansen also added that the vast majority of the more than 40,000 young people who came this weekend were in the city to just have a good time.

He also said it was disheartening to see the amount of destruction on the boardwalk, from overturned trash cans to trampled landscaping.

Public Works crews worked to restore the boardwalk and beaches by removing the discarded trash and expected to have things restored by the end of Monday.

Below are statistics gathered from the weekend:

Friday night:

Traffic summonses: 35
Criminal summonses: 36
Misdemeanor arrests: 5
Felony arrests: 4
Gun recovered: 2
Tows: 2
*Two separate assault on LEO cases

Saturday night:

Traffic summonses: 43
Criminal summonses: 19
Misdemeanor arrests: 17
Guns recovered: 4
Tows: 5