After more than two dozen calls for help, 83 traffic stops and 54 calls for back up at Riverwalk's skate park, officers asked the City Council for a new tool in keeping the park safe for skaters.
The city council passed a first draft of a new ordinance that will allow officers to issue trespass citations at the public park that could ban certain trouble makers for as long as a year.
A. J. Cerniglia, a master patrol officer with the Bradenton Police Department, was grateful to have another tool to help put an end to the problems at the skate park. He said the biggest complaint is about kids fighting. Although he said some of the skaters have reported having bkes, skate boards and back packs stolen while they are skating in the park.
He said there are times as many as 500 people will congrgate at the park and police have seen several fights break out at once. Officers patrolling the are have to call for back up, taking officers away from other areas. On at least three occasions, Cerniglia said the police have had to shut down the park.
Cerniglia and city council members were clear to point out that the problem doesn't appear to be those actually coming to the park to skate, rather it is from kids just coming to hang out.
The new proposal will allow officers to ban anyone who causes trouble or starts a fight for up to a year. If they are caught at the park again in that time they can be taken to jail.
"We want the park to be a success and we want the skate boarders to have a good time," Cerniglia said. In order to make sure that happens being able to tell those who cause problems that they can't come back is essential, he added.