VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - While residents in Virginia Beach debate whether or not police were prepared for the past weekend's violence, 10 On Your Side is learning that planning law enforcement for large crowds is not an exact science. At least one police veteran WAVY.com spoke to felt Virginia Beach Police had adequately staffed the College Beach Weekend.
10 On Your Side spoke to police officials in two other beach side cities to see how they deal with large crowds. Representatives from the Daytona Beach, Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina police departments said there is no formula for staffing events like College Week. Both departments examine each event individually. They also take into account if the event has had any trouble in the past and any information they may gather beforehand.
The public information officer for Daytona Beach Police said events like College Week, which are not sponsored by the city, are the hardest to prepare for since they are less organized and anyone can take part.
Sgt. Joe Heller, who oversees the division that covers event planning for the Daytona Beach Police Department, told 10 On Your Side events like College Week can grow greatly in size in their fourth or fifth year as they become more popular. This was the fourth year for College Week in Virginia Beach.
Heller also told 10 On Your Side that it sounded like Virginia Beach had staffed the event properly with the information it had by having nearly 90 officers work the Oceanfront. Virginia Beach Police estimate 30,000 to 40,000 people were on the Oceanfront Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
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