Brevard County has recently adopted a new program within their law enforcement of their beaches, which may or may not be indicative of how other beaches around America could handle minor law infractions. To handle the huge crowds that go to Cocoa Beach, the county has hired eight part-timers to enforce minor infractions like drinking on the beach, glass bottles and illegal grilling. They are called Beach Rangers, and they are on duty every weekend from 7am to 7pm to issue warnings for these offenses. If incidents get out of hand, or those warned get belligerent, the Beach Rangers are in close contact with the CBPD who would then take over.
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Brevard County is using this summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, as a trial period for these Assistants on the Beach, and the total cost to taxpayers is approximately $138,000. There are some that expressed this program and the money spent is a waste and that the CBPD can handle the beach situations as they have in the past. The only thing is the crowds are getting larger and having Beach Rangers out in the crowds, gives the Police Department another set of eyes.
The new Beach Rangers are on duty only when the crowds are the largest, and they only give warnings. On Memorial Day Weekend, 60 warnings were issued, and if this is typical of the summer to come, it will save many tourists and locals alike the headache of paying tickets, retaining a lawyer in Brevard county, and possibly jail time. The Beach Rangers also free up the Police Department to attend to more serious crimes, and the lifeguards to stay focused on the swimmers in the ocean.
With the talks surrounding this new addition of law enforcement, the city reports nothing but positive remarks concerning the Program. The new Beach Rangers are also trained in CPR and water rescues, so if there was an emergency where the lifeguard would need assistance, they are fully trained to assist. This is a trial program for 2012, so it remains to be seen how it works and if other beaches pick up on the idea.