Extra police and code enforcement officers will patrol Montauk for the July Fourth holiday weekend to avoid a repeat of last year’s disruptive partying, but things are expected to be much calmer, officials said.
“It’s the busiest weekend we have here, but we’re fully prepared with additional code enforcement, police, fire marshals and marine patrol,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said. “There’ll be more staffing than last year.”
Montauk residents last July Fourth weekend reported loud partying and public drunkenness as well as parking and traffic problems. Town officials cracked down on such behavior after the holiday and instituted changes to keep such problems to a minimum this year.
“There’ll be a lot of traffic and a lot of calls for the police department and others to handle, but hopefully word has gotten out that Montauk is not a great place to go to break the law,” Cantwell said.
The supervisor said additional staffing started on Memorial Day weekend and that visitors have largely been behaved. Additionally, bar owners and other businesses have been cooperating in the town’s efforts to keep order, he added.
Tracy Gardell, owner of 668 The Gig Shack, a downtown restaurant with an outdoor and indoor bar and live music, agreed.
“I think all of the industry people are trying to live up to the town’s expectations and requirements,” she said of herself and others with similar establishments.
East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo confirmed that many business owners have been a big help in keeping the peace. He said restaurant and bar owners have been closing windows and doors to keep noise contained, have kept the music indoors after 9 p.m. and have been closely monitoring occupancy to prevent overcrowding.
Sarlo said supplemental police patrols, including using officers on overtime as well as part-time officers, will be on duty throughout the weekend from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily. He added that moving the fireworks show to Monday this year instead of having it on a Saturday will also help.
“The traffic volume and congestion that gridlocked Montauk last July 4th should not be as severe,” Sarlo said. “The New York State Police have also been making Montauk a regular part of their weekend night patrols. Overall, things seem to be moving in the right direction and we are cautiously optimistic, with full-fledged planning in place, that the safety and good order of Montauk will continue to improve.”