Jax Beach police: 4th of July will be safe
7 agencies to be on patrol following Memorial Day brawl
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – James Jenkins got what he wanted -- police on practically every corner at Jacksonville Beach.
"The more police, the safer I feel," Jenkins said.
Some officers even had their family vacations canceled so they could work overtime hours ever since a beachside brawl on Memorial Day at Jacksonville Beach.
Even though it was caught on cellphone video, investigators say they don't have enough evidence to prosecute. But come Fourth of July, police say they'll be ready to stop any fights before they break out.
"You'll see the towers, as everyone calls them, officers on ATVs, segways, bicycles, and just out walking around in the crowd," said Sgt. Thomas Crumley, of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department.
Crumley said all 61 of his officers and police from seven other police agencies will be controlling the crowds on the Fourth of July, including a specialized team whose only job is to find active gang members.
"(The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office) has a gang unit who can identify known gang members throughout Duval County, and they've been working hand-in-hand with our police to identify and discourage gang members from misbehaving," councilman and business owner Keith Doherty said. "That's why we haven't had a problem in months."
Doherty said more officers on the street sends a stern message that violence of any kind won't be tolerated at Jacksonville Beach.
"I think what happened at the events during Memorial Day were a watershed," Doherty said. "That's the worst it's going to get out here. And I've noticed every weekend since then, it's been a safe environment. We're getting less and less gang members."
Investigators with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department said the victims in the Memorial Day fight have not been cooperating with them, and without their testimony, detectives say it's extremely hard to press criminal charges, even though there is cellphone video evidence.
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