Jacksonville Beach: Don't expect another Memorial Day brawl

Police beef up patrols for holiday weekend

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – It was a brawl that erupted at Jacksonville Beach on Memorial Day weekend last year, fists flying and one man jumping on another's head.

City leaders said it was an isolated incident and don't expect it to happen again this Memorial Day.

"You can never say never. Things can always happen. But I'm confident that we have the appropriate amount of people out there to make sure things are kept safe and we can react quickly to something like that," Mayor Charlie Latham said.

Jacksonville Beach police have beefed up patrol for the busy months and said they're ready for this holiday weekend.

"We are going to have a full boat of police officers out, and we met with JSO this week and they are going to augment the force with us as well this weekend," Latham said. "Obviously, our police force is perfect for the city of 22,000 people, but when 100,000 people come in, you ask for a little bit of help."

Police plan to patrol the entire beach community with an increased presence in the business district and at restaurants and bars hosting special events. Officers will be in marked and unmarked cars, on ATVs, Segways, in a watch tower and walking around.

Volunteers working for the Police Department, called Citizens on Patrol, will also help with traffic, citations and parking.

Police ask people to be patient, expect large crowds and traffic delays, and have a good time.

"It's a great thing for the whole community," Atlantic Beach resident John Harris said. "It's a destination and it's becoming more, and after the trouble that we had last year, hoping that's just an isolated event."

"The one thing that I would ask is that everyone bring their manners," Latham said. "If everyone comes in looking for a good time and looking out for each other, we are going to have a wonderful weekend. If people come in and they have an ulterior motive and their behavior is less than wonderful, then we are going to hold them accountable for their behavior."