Chaos on the Beach – Incident highlights the need for contingency plans

May 6, 2009
By

Last week’s chaotic and ineffectual public safety response to the invasion of Revere Beach by about 3,000 Boston school students who played hookey proved that there are no contingency plans in effect with the State Police or Revere Police to maintain public safety during a crisis.

The State Police response to the invasion was as expected – as many State Police as were available descended upon the crowd, attempting to control it. About 11 state troopers were counted at the scene near the Reinstein Bandstand. Revere police officers responded early in the event but quickly left, leaving the State Police alone to handle the matter.

When the State Police decided to close the beach down to traffic without a sense of what effect such a closure would create, they made a colossal public safety error.

The net effect was to stop all traffic coming into and out of Revere from East Boston and Chelsea and also from Lynn, clogging traffic everywhere within a circle extending from Bell Circle to the beach, from Suffolk Downs to the Parkway, and on both sides of the Parkway all the way to the Chelsea line.

Not a single Revere police officer on duty that day at the station aided the traffic tie-up, which made movement in a large area absolutely impossible, thus creating a public safety hazard of the first magnitude.

In fact, the traffic remained this way until 7 p.m..

At the beach, the State Police stood staring at the large crowd in a standoff of sorts that accomplished nothing. Later, the State Police were joined by MBTA Police who monitored the kids leaving on the T.

These kids also pilfered local small businesses. The neighborhood surrounding the beach was crowded with kids throwing rocks and occasionally fighting –yet there was no local response.

At least the State Police created a presence and attempted to manage the enormous crowd.

Beyond that, there was only chaos and an utter and complete lack of interest about the closure of major roadways because of rush hour traffic, with nowhere to move. In fact, when a State Police cruiser attempted to leave the beach, the state trooper drove on the opposite side of the Parkway into the traffic in a death-defying move.

What does this all prove?

It proves that the State Police, and especially the local police, have no plans whatsoever to deal with extraordinary circumstances.

We’d urgently suggest that the State Police and local police decide on contingency plans so that when and if the beach is ever again closed, the public’s safety and well being won’t be compromised as it was last week.

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