Virginia Beach Police staffing up for College Beach Weekend

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Posted at 11:35 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 18:16:03-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Police will be staffing up at the Oceanfront and city-wide in anticipation of College Beach Weekend, the department said Wednesday.

The city said tens of thousands of people are expected at the Oceanfront beginning Friday and throughout the weekend.

The police department didn't want to put a figure on how many they expect, but said they expect large crowds.

Police will be patrolling on foot, in cars, on bikes and on horseback.

"We think the presence of officers is the best that we can do to create a safe environment for everyone to come and approach or ask for help when needed," said Lt. Bradley Wesseler.

The department can divert traffic if crowds become large and could close down Atlantic Avenue if needed.

"We're used to large crowds and we feel confident we can accommodate everyone as they come in," Wesseler said.

The city also has about 20 surveillance cameras to keep an eye on crowds and where people are moving. "It's just another set of eyes to see it from a different level to help us monitor where the crowds are moving and the size of crowds," he said.

The police department also now has a substation on Atlantic Avenue to help provide a station where people can go if they have questions or concerns.

"A lot of people aren't from the area. We want to educate them on the laws and rules of the City of Virginia Beach," Wesseler said. "The one thing we won't tolerate is any violent crimes or gun violence."

Resort area ambassadors will also be out monitoring crowds.

"[They'll be] just keeping an eye on things, making sure that everyone is having good time obviously within the rules," said Carlos Torrespablos, the operations manager for Block by Block Virginia Beach.

On Wednesday, ambassadors were putting up signs welcoming people to the Oceanfront and providing them with information. "I think when you provide friendly services - when you open your arms to guests and you're inviting, everything works out okay," Torrespablos said.

Business owners are hoping for a successful weekend as well.

"With our business, whenever we have warm weather and a lot of people in town we do well," said D. Nachnani, the president of the Atlantic Avenue Association.

Nachnai says business owners have met with police about this weekend and future weekends.

"We're feeling optimistic. We don't have crystal balls. All we can do is our best to ensure everyone has a great time while remaining safe and move from there," he said.