South Haven Police take steps to ensure a safe 4th of July

Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 23:30:57-04

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich.  — It was three years ago that violence broke out at North Beach in South Haven, prompting an evacuation leading up to the Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

South Haven Police have made many changes since then, and there were no significant problems the past two years. That included proactive monitoring and enforcement earlier in the day.

Logo from South Haven Police Department Facebook page 7-2-2019

The city’s police chief, Natalie Thompson, tells FOX 17 they retained a private security company to control access and conduct container searches at North Beach. That’s the largest of South Haven’s seven public beaches. “That, coupled with strong police presence and fencing along the entire perimeter (to the water line) with four entry points into the beach has been key.

“Second,” says Chief Thompson, “zero tolerance for alcohol and publicizing that with signage and media assistance  has been beneficial for getting the word out. Our goal is to deter anyone wanting to engage in activities negatively impacting public peace and, most importantly, public safety.  We are desirous of visitors to our beautiful beaches but not those who are disrespectful to others and violate the law.”

And to ensure the peace, the South Haven Police Department has more than 100 additional police officers from surrounding agencies to assist the city’s 20-officer police department, according to Chief Thompson.

“We are also fortunate to have great support from our community, as well.”