A $500,000 grant to Long Branch Police

TRENTON — The new state budget includes half a million dollars to help Long Branch deal with past and future pop-up parties that may overwhelm the seaside town.

The $500,000 appropriation through the Department of Law and Public Safety was added at the request of Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, who also proposed legislation to fund broader police responses to the state of New Jersey to rowdy social gatherings.

“Long Branch had a very unique and unusual situation, and they need help with public safety,” said Gopal, who noted the upscale, Victorian-inspired Pier Village shops and restaurants. “…We had to make sure we had enough support for our police department.”

Line in state budget for Long Branch

Line in the state budget for Long Branch (State of NJ)

Long Branch is a town of approximately 32,400 year-round residents. Its police department has 84 officers.

In May, the city was surprised by around 5,000 people arriving by train for a short-lived party that required the help of other police departments to disperse after fighting broke out.

Long Branch has held pop-up parties before, like other towns, and the city went to court to get an injunction to shut out another party last month. Gopal said he advocates for his district in seeking state ownership.

“Long Branch made headlines,” Gopal said. “I know some communities in Ocean County are, but honestly, my responsibility is with my district. These lawmakers must advocate and lobby for their cities.

“We want to thank Senator Vin Gopal for providing us with this money,” Long Branch Mayor John Pallone said. “It will be used to reimburse the city for the additional police officers who have been deployed to the beach.”

Gopal said local officials will determine how the money will be used. It could pay for police overtime, future prevention efforts, online surveillance and cybersecurity or other efforts, he said.

“They also talked about maybe having some sort of permanent presence on the shore with some sort of police station,” Gopal said. “Ultimately the city will decide.”

Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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