Beach Patrols Helpful & Hurtful

Mother’s Day 2015

I witnessed a deputy write a ticket on the beach. The family enjoying their vacation were non-confrontational, and the infraction minor. The Currituck sheriff’s deputy demeanor was confrontational and his interpretation questionable. The deputy’s actions certainly ruined the day, and likely impacted the family’s vacation. Clearly they did not realize they were doing anything wrong.

As a year round resident, I make my living from those that come here to vacation. I am conservative and support strong enforcement, but our community services are also in the hospitality business. We want to insure our visitors have a good experience. Even those we hire to protect and enforce the law should understand that importance. In this situation the officer had a job, but he could have handled it where the guests respected his job and responsibilities.

Since that day I made a few inquiries. Clearly there is group within Outer Banks law enforcement that understand, but it seems mostly coming from seasoned officers that have lived here a dozen years or more; and realize the importance of our guests. And they note sometimes vacationers’ exhibit lack of judgment not typical that means many just need a little reminding.

Typically police officers are trained with a focus on law enforcement, while avoiding risks and dangers of the job. Other resort markets include training for their officers to remain conscious at all times that they are also an “Ambassador”, with a priority focus on making sure vacationing visitors want to return. This got my attention as I remembered back to the wife on the beach, as she turned to her husband; “we are never coming back here again”.

Our police officers have a job to do and there is a conflict in this letter. I support strong enforcement. Unlike many cities and towns, an Outer Banks officer can have their job role switch in an instant from handling a serious crime to being an Ambassador extending goodwill. To me it seems that is a considerable talent not easily learned. Especially in the heat of the moment. My question is there something OBHOA can do to help?

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