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Hermosa Jail Filled to Capacity on July 4th

Hermosa Beach police say they saw a spike in incidents during this year's Fourth of July celebrations, including an increase in alcohol-related citations.

An increase in arrests during this year's Fourth of July celebrations in Hermosa Beach filled the police department's jail to capacity by Wednesday night, according to Hermosa Beach Police Department Sgt. Robert Higgins.

Preliminary police reports show that officers arrested 24 people, with 15 arrests for public intoxication. Last year, there were 11 arrests with only three for public intoxication.

Two people were also arrested on suspicion of assult with a deadly weapon after a victim said he was kicked in the head during a dispute, according to reports.

"It was definitely busier than normal," said Higgins. "In my 17 years here, I think I can count two times that we have hit (jail) capacity on either New Years, Fourth of July or Memorial Day weekend ... It is very abnormal to have that happen."

Higgins said that a party with about 2,000 high school students near Second Street and the Strand also helped contribute to the increase in citations and arrests.

The gathering, which was announced and spread through social media, attracted teenagers from across Southern California and led to one police officer getting punched in the face while trying to break up a fight, said Higgins.

"It turned into a giant free-for-all party down there that was really a lot more than we can handle with the limited resources we have," Higgins said. "It was huge."

According to Higgins, the city also had six fewer police officers on the streets and six fewer citizen officers on duty during this year's holiday due to budget cuts.

"We got it done and, like we always do, we will get it done every year," he said. "It was just a little tougher this year because we were a little short."

The city's jail, which holds 19-27 people, filled to capacity by 10 p.m., and police were forced to divert bookings to nearby jails. Those arrested for minor offences, such as alcohol violations, were given notices to appear in court and released to a responsible party, Higgins said.

The spike in incidents this year occured despite the city's efforts to discourage public intoxication by to patrol the beach and the Strand.

Dave Andrews July 06, 2012 at 09:57 PM
HBPD - You should be on Twitter doing a search for "Hermosa Beach" to know what is happening and where it is happening. You will probably also have photos to back up any cases you might want to prosecute.
Bob Atkins July 07, 2012 at 06:57 AM
The party police were just looking for trouble and they found it. They need to show that they don't have enough budget and this year they slammed that message home. As a resident here I will never go down to the beach on a holiday - I don't need to feel like I'm in a prison yard when I just want to have a good time. Thanks city council for providing your citizens with a prison yard environment in which to try and enjoy themselves.

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