NJ’s pop-up party tab: A $500,000 grant to Long Branch police
TRENTON – The new state budget includes a half-million dollars to help Long Branch deal with past and future pop-up parties that can overwhelm the beachfront city.
The $500,000 appropriation through the Department of Law and Public Safety was added at the behest of Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, who has also proposed legislation to fund broader responses by the New Jersey State Police to the rowdy social gatherings.
“Long Branch had a very unique and unusual situation, and they need help with public safety,” said Gopal, who noted the shops and restaurants in the upscale, Victorian-inspired Pier Village. “… We had to make sure we had enough support for our police department.”
Long Branch is a city of around 32,400 year-round residents. Its police department has 84 officers.
In May, the city was surprised by around 5,000 people who arrived by train for a pop-up party that required assistance from other police departments to disperse after fights broke out.
Long Branch has had pop-up parties before, as have other towns, and the city went to court to get an injunction to head off another party last month. Gopal said he was advocating for his district in seeking the state appropriation.
“Long Branch has been in the news,” Gopal said. “I know some Ocean County communities are, but honestly my responsibility is to my district. Those legislators have to advocate and push for their towns.”
"We want to thank Sen. Vin Gopal for getting us this money,” Long Branch Mayor John Pallone said. “It will be used to reimburse the city for the additional police officers that have been deployed on the beach.”
Gopal said local officials will determine how the money will be used. It could pay for police overtime, future prevention efforts, online monitoring and cybersecurity or other efforts, he said.
“They’ve also talked about maybe having some kind of a permanent presence on the shoreline with some kind of police location,” Gopal said. “Ultimately the city will decide.”