Police plan for America’s Cup crowds
A detailed plan for the incoming America’s Cup World Series crowds was presented by Police Chief Ed Mello at the Town Council’s meeting Monday. Discussions on Fort Getty were postponed due to the absence of council President Michael Schnack.
“We have been working and meeting, and meeting, and meeting on what our plan is in coordination with Rhode Island DOT, the state police, North Kingstown police, and DEM on how we’re going to manage the influx of people,” said Mello. He anticipates that the heaviest volumes of people will be in town on June 29 through July 1.
Though trial races will begin on Saturday, June 23, actual racing does not begin until Thursday, June 28. It will end on July 1.
Mello said that parking will be allowed inside Fort Wetherill which will be run by the state Department of Environmental Management during the races, but that temporary no-parking orders will be placed on the neighborhood streets nearby.
“The viewing capacity is much less than the parking capacity, so the number of people that can get up top and get down to the bulkhead, there is more than adequate parking spaces to accommodate them,” said Mello.
DEM officials stationed inside the park will notify the Jamestown police when the park’s viewing capacity has reached 80 percent. At that point, police will begin diverting traffic away from the island by using digital signs, located from Narragansett to Route 138, flashing alerts that Fort Wetherill is at capacity and that sailing fans should seek alternate viewing destinations along the coast of Narragansett Bay.
Council member Ellen Winsor asked about the digital message and whether or not it would explain it as a mandatory order from the Jamestown police. “How are you going to get people to pay attention, out of curiosity?”
“There are satellite parking lots all in the master plan, so once we’re at capacity here, we can push [traffic] more to the satellite lots, which people are going to have to pay for,” said Mello. The satellite lots are private and not affi liated with the town, and some will have shuttles to transport people from their vehicles to the scene of the race.
Also on the agenda was an update of protocol on how Jamestown will handle stray and sick animals without owners. Town Administrator Bruce Keiser explained that the new proposal included moving from a per-diem fee – currently $22 per boarding night – to a fixed annual fee of $3,000.
“In the past we’ve kind of gone along by the seat of our pants with respect to how are we going to pay for the medical expenses of injured and sick animals that we pick up,” said Keiser. “It’s been funded through donations. It’s been partly funded through our animal-control-services account, but there’s never been a formal policy or formal means [of funding] to pay for the services.”
“One of the things that happens in Jamestown is we don’t have that much of an animal problem, or we have a tremendous amount,” said Barbara Szepatowski, a member of the Friends of the North Kingstown Animal Shelter. “For example, in January we had four dogs hit by cars in the first two weeks. All four of them made it to the vets. All four of them were saved.”
Keiser said that, while reviewing the cost and services of all area shelters and services, that he saw North Kingstown’s shelter as the best option.
“North Kingston strives harder than any shelter I’ve ever seen to be a no-kill shelter,” said Szepatowski, who also explained that the shelter holds fundraisers every month to make sure that funds are available for animals without owners.
Winsor questioned who in Jamestown was responsible for making the decisions about when funds were spent on medical treatment for animals.
Szepatowski said that she was. “At this point, for the last couple of years, I’m the person that goes out when an animal has been hit by a car and my first inclination, and maybe it’s wrong because I’m thinking with my heart and not my pocket book, is to get the animal stabilized.”
“This has happened on a pretty regular basis where an animal gets injured” said Mello. “[Szepatowski] and I have a conversation about what care that animal needs, if we’ve identified who the owner is, what is the responsibility of the town, what cost the town will incur.”
Mello said that ultimately it’s his decision whether or not funds are spent to care for an injured animal.
The memorandum of agreement between Jamestown and the North Kingstown Animal Shelter passed 3-1 with Winsor voting in opposition.
Mello also introduced two new patrolmen to the town as they were sworn in during the council meeting. James Chaves and Kyle Endres took the oath and became the newest members of the Jamestown Police Department.
Endres graduated from Salve Regina University with a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice. He completed a two-year internship at the Newport Police Department. Chaves grew up in Middletown, joined the U.S. Army after high school, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and attended the Fox Valley Technical College for criminal justice.
Council members also took the time to honor and recognize the achievements of arborist Paul Dolan with a proclamation. “Paul Dolan has worked tirelessly for the state of Rhode Island, most recently as deputy chief of the division of forest environment, earning the title, ‘King of the Forest,’” said Michael White. “Through his enthusiasm and personal commitment, [Dolan] inspired a tree stewardship in Jamestown and throughout Rhode Island. Through his efforts, Jamestown has been awarded the distinction as a Tree City USA community for the past 10 years.”
The proclamation ended with the dedication of Friday, June 22, as Paul Dolan Day in the town of Jamestown.