The Hamptons Police Department announced they are way behind on their revenue goals as the end of the year approaches. Administrators in the department blame the shortfall on officers’ failure to issue fines at the levels the department anticipated.
So the department can at least hope to meet minimum expectations for funding obtained by ticketing, the Chief of the Hamptons Police has instructed patrol officers to adopt a more proactive approach to enforcing local laws and ordinances. “Our patrols have historically generated a lot more money than we’ve seen this year,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “Our statistics show that ticketing has dropped precipitously for a number of common offenses.”
Among the areas in which police seem to have been lax in their enforcement are local rules and regulations pertaining to dress. “In most years our officers issue at least 45 summonses to people caught wearing white after Labor Day,” Hirsch says. “At $75 per offense, that’s been a cash cow for us. And this year, they only issued 12 tickets for that offense.”
Numbers were similarly down in Sag Harbor, where violations of the mandated Casual Attire Code have typically meant large fines for out-of-towners unfamiliar with the law. Hirsch sounded like he suspects officers have grown unwilling to enforce this particular regulation.
“In 2016, we were pulling in thousands a day nabbing guys for wearing neckties in Sag Harbor Village. That should be like shooting fish in a barrel. This year, it was down to a paltry $500 a day, on average. Our guys have to do better.”
The most marked decline in the past year has been in the issuance of tickets for violations of the Hamptons Live Music Code, which regulates the playlists of local bands when they play in nightclubs and restaurants, and forbids the playing of certain overplayed cover tunes.
“If our officers didn’t fine anybody for playing ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ in 2017, they obviously haven’t been listening very carefully,” Hirsch. The Live Music Code also requires that instrumental solos played by musicians in local bands be “concise, to the point, and no more than one minute in length.” Apparently, police were turning a blind eye to violations of the rule. “For the first time since the code was enacted, we didn’t issue a single summons for a long, pointless guitar solo,” says Hirsch. “Have all of the guitarists suddenly gotten better—could be, but I seriously doubt it.” Hirsch warns residents to expect heightened scrutiny in the coming weeks as officers seek to issue many more tickets in order to make up the lost ground.