MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – There will be no curfew on Miami Beach during Memorial Day weekend like there was during the raucous spring break on South Beach.
A first look at a policing plan comes for the masses expected for Memorial Day during a question and answer session with Miami-Dade County Black Advisory Board.
The board has concerned since spring break at even the perception of unequal justice.
It was not far from Ocean Drive’s daily vibe that Miami Beach Police were laying out their plans for a busy holiday weekend. Deputy Chief Wayne Jones of the Miami Beach Police Department answered questions from the group who were critical of the handling of spring break crowds only weeks ago.
“For two decades now, we’ve been dealing with Memorial Day weekend,” Jones said.
Stephen Johnson, chairman of the Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board posed the question about the use of pepper ball guns, which were present during spring break.
“Tell me we’re not deploying the pepper ball paintball guns on Memorial Day weekend?” he asked.
Jones said that his officers will have the devices while on patrol. “But those are deployed if and only everything else fails,” he said.
Policy governing the use of force by police has been revised only four times in 20 years and the latest update happened just last week.
It outlines the training and use of pepper balls for threats or crowd control, including a prior verbal warning, which was heard on the streets spring break.
Meanwhile, Miami Beach Police have marching orders for Memorial Day weekend.
- 12-hour “alpha/bravo” shifts with an assist from other departments.
- Traffic will reroute as a one-way loop in the Entertainment District
- 200 Miami-Dade goodwill ambassadors will be on the streets
- And an advanced media blitz will communicate local laws and expectations to visitors.
“It should be communicated early as opposed to when they get here,” said Retha Boone-Fye, Director of the Miami-Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board, about those visiting the city.
Tim Tyree, who was already on Miami Beach from Pittsburgh, offered his perspective.
“I’d rather them be overly safe and have our best interest than to be under policing,” he said.