MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Miami Beach city leaders say Urban Beach Week is off to a smooth start compared to years past.
Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez told Local 10 Saturday that fewer arrests were made Thursday compared to last year's Thursday start.
On Saturday afternoon, police had made a total of 93 arrests. Of those, 24 came from Friday night's DUI checkpoint. Most of the arrests have been misdemeanors related to narcotics, disorderly conduct, driving on a suspended license or not having a valid driver's license.
The Miami Beach Police Chief has been under fire for allegedly imposing a weekend arrest quota - a quota, he says, never existed and never will.
"I can tell you there is no quota. I address all the roll calls. Not just our officers, but the outside agencies. There never is a quota. I don't care if we've made one arrest or a hundred," said Chief Ray Martinez. "So far, we have a wonderful crowd. Everything is looking very positive. The officers are doing an incredible job out here and we're happy so far."
Even though Urban Beach Week is not an organized event, Miami Beach leaders say they are ready to accommodate the crowds and handle any challenges they may bring to the area this year.
"Unlike other major event periods, where we may be working with an organizer, Memorial Day weekend is a weekend, a national holiday so there is no one we can work with to anticipate the volume of visitors to our city," said Fernandez.
An estimated 200,000 visitors will pack South Beach this Memorial Day weekend. Fernandez says their plan this year is based on what's worked and what hasn't worked in years past.
Part of this year's strategy involves a new traffic loop to keep residential areas quieter and to help police and fire rescue get to where they are needed as quickly as possible.
The city is spending $1.5 million this year on a safety plan that includes 600 police on patrol, DUI checkpoints, and license plate readers.
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