The sunny, warm weather this spring has contributed to a great beginning at Revere Beach this season, though it has also brought some concerns.
Whispers abound at what many believe to be an influx of gang members from Boston and from cities to the north.
Likewise, there are nudges as regulars at the Beach observe what they believe to be drug dealers operating in the open.
Such sights bring back bad memories from the recent past when gang members chased off elderly concert-goers at the Bandstand, when drug dealers operated on entire portions of the Beach, and when young people flat out got murdered while scuffling on Revere Beach.
Those days are long gone and State Police officials said to forget the past and look forward to a safe future on Revere Beach this summer.
State Police Major Edward Amodeo – who commands six police barracks from Chelsea to the New Hampshire border, including Revere Beach – unveiled a comprehensive public safety plan for the Beach on Friday – putting it to work during the Memorial Day weekend and hopefully for the rest of the summer.
â€œRevere is really chief among our concerns because thereâ€™s lots of parking, thereâ€™s public transportation, and we have the ability to have a lot of people converge here at one time like no other place in our enforcement area,â€ said Amodeo, who was born and raised in Revere. â€œAt Revere, we have the potential to have a lot of people here quickly.â€
Amodeo said they have implemented what theyâ€™re calling the Revere Beach Enforcement Initiative.
He said itâ€™s a public safety plan that is more comprehensive than anything implemented at the Beach previously.
The plan calls for five additional Troopers to be assigned to the Beach on Friday and Saturday night (as well as Sunday night on holidays) through at least June 30. Those Troopers are in addition to the regular patrols at the Beach Barracks, as well as a roving team of 14 Troopers that covers Amodeoâ€™s entire enforcement area.
The five additional Troopers dedicated to the Beach will consist of three uniformed Troopers on walking patrols – one with a K-9 unit.
Two additional undercover Troopers from the Suffolk County DAâ€™s Gang and Narcotics Unit will bolster the unit.
â€œThose undercover officers know all the players and will be able to tell who might be gang members,â€ said Amodeo. â€œTheyâ€™re going to be able to mix more with those people who might be coming to the Beach to cause trouble. Weâ€™re going to set the tone through aggressive enforcement, letting them know that Revere Beach isnâ€™t going to be the place [for them] to come this summer.
â€œItâ€™s important to set the tone early, especially if youâ€™re dealing with a gang member or someone attempting to use the Beach to sell drugs,â€ he added.
Besides the State Police units, Amodeo also indicated that the Revere Police detectives would be involved in helping the effort.
Amodeo added that he has the flexibility to send out extra units on a weekday as well.
â€œIf we have hot, hot nights [during the week], I can assign more resources here,â€ he said. â€œWhen we know the weather is bad, weâ€™ll send people down.â€
Likewise, theyâ€™ll also be targeting quality of life issues – including loud music, drinking in public, erratic driving and screeching tires.
â€œWhat we want is people to enjoy the Beach and we want people to come down and not worry about their safety,â€ he said. â€œPlus, this is a residential area now with condos and a lot of new condos.â€
However, the uncertainty of the stateâ€™s finances could stall the project just as it gets started. Amodeo said that the plan is to continue the patrols through the end of the summer, but right now they cannot guarantee anything beyond June 30th – the end of the stateâ€™s budget cycle.
â€œThis is something weâ€™ve never tried before [at Revere Beach],â€ concluded Amodeo. â€œHopefully, our grant will be extended for the entire summer.â€