Seaside Heights will open a police substation on the borough’s boardwalk next summer that will be manned and available to the public.
A substation had been planned this summer, but nagging labor shortages, budget considerations, and uncertainty over the extent to which the coronavirus would affect the summer season put the plans aside. Officials have said the substation will help in the multi-year plan for the borough to return to its roots as a family-oriented resort community by tackling misconduct on the boardwalk.
The facility will be located within the site of the present lifeguard headquarters south of Webster Avenue. The substation will have a front-facing access point and a window where visitors can interact with an officer. A sergeant who was just hired by the department will be responsible for the substation and will also supervise the special police officers who are hired to provide extra patrols on the boardwalk and beach during the summer season.
“The goal was for it to be operated to give more visibility to our police,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “It won’t be fully equipped – they’ll have their handsets and other equipment, but it won’t be computerized or have a jail cell. It’s really about making our officers visible to people visiting the boardwalk.”
The substation is aimed at improving situational awareness for police officers by having a central viewing and meeting point, as well as having a go-to location where police are present at the town’s most popular attraction – the beach and boardwalk.
“If a person has a problem they can go there, and we’ll also have better control over what we see,” said Vaz. “There is an upper deck and with a pair of binoculars, our officers can see from The Beachcomber to Casino Pier right from there.”