WESTERLY — Two people were cited for alcohol violations Friday at local beaches in the Westerly Police Department's first targeted enforcement of the summer.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said the annual enforcement effort is intended to prevent disorderly conduct and alcohol-related emergencies, and is funded this year through the department's overtime budget.
"For a first weekend, there weren't as many citations issued as we've had in previous years. We hope this is a sign of the summer to come, that people are willing to comply with the law," Lacey said.
On Friday, a 47-year Stonington man was cited with consuming alcohol in public and a 20-year-old Massachusetts man was charged as a minor in possession of alcohol.
Consumption of alcohol in public carries a minimum fine of $85 through the state courts and a fine of $100 through the Westerly Municipal Court. Minors in possession of alcohol face a minimum penalty of a $200 court-ordered contribution to a charitable organization, 20 hours of community service, and a 60-day loss of a driver's license.
Lacey said Monday that the beach patrols are "only just getting under way." Two officers in plain clothes walk the beach to look for violations, he said.
Timing of the patrols varies, Lacey said, but they're conducted most frequently at high traffic times including weekends and holiday weeks.
Westerly police issued four citations on the first day of enforcement in 2018 and by the end of the third week the department had issued 26 citations for public consumption of alcohol, and 16 to minors in possession of alcohol. One woman was charged with possession of marijuana.
Lacey said there has been more compliance early this season. "Our goal isn't to issue tickets. We want to make sure everyone remains safe," he said