Island bars and restaurants were jumping this past Labor Day weekend, but police from Aquinnah to Oak Bluffs reported most people were on their best behavior and there were few notable incidents of depravity or disturbance.
Police officials said the number of calls for service was up, although most were for more mundane indiscretions such as traffic stops.
“There was a high number of people on the Island; but everyone seemed to be on their best behavior. It was pretty tame,” Oak Bluffs Sgt. Michael Marchand said.
“No major crimes and no major carnage . . . just people enjoying the Island on Labor Day weekend,” agreed Tisbury Chief John Cashin.
The relatively sedate Labor Day weekend — the unofficial end to the season— was typical of the summer in terms of police activity. There were plenty of noise disturbances and instances of drunk and disorderly and suspicious behavior, but no real major crimes or tragedies to report.
Looking back over the summer, the most newsworthy events would include a fuel spill along the Oak Bluffs harbor, the arrest of a man who reportedly impersonated a campaign aide during a Chilmark fund-raiser for presidential candidate John Edwards and a bungled bank heist in Edgartown in the middle of the night.
As one police official astutely observed, “it was a fairly typical summer on the Vineyard . . . some loud parties and some break-ins . . . but nothing too shocking.”
Just after 6:30 p.m. Friday, police arrested a man from Chester, N.J., for driving under the influence and marked lane violations.
Around 3 a.m. Sunday, police arrested a 29-year-old man from Quincy after he reportedly assaulted a member of his family at a home on Wampsutta avenue. He was charged with domestic assault and battery.
Early Monday morning, police recovered a stolen moped from the marsh at the end of South Circuit avenue. Sergeant Marchand said the vehicle was reportedly stolen between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. the previous evening. Police recovered the two-wheel vehicle partially submerged in the marsh after receiving a tip.
Oak Bluffs police this weekend also placed three people into protective custody after they exhibited unruly or drunken behavior downtown.
Aquinnah Police Chief Rhandi Belain said he witnessed a moped crash on State Road just after noon last Monday.
Chief Belain said the Wareham woman who was operating the moped didn’t see the motorist and pulled out of the town library and almost directly into traffic. The driver did all he could to avoid a head-on collision, the chief said, although the moped still wound up striking the side of the vehicle.
The moped operator was brought by ambulance to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
On Sunday, just after noon, police were alerted that a 15-month-old toddler had swallowed some rat poison he found near an outside shower. The toddler’s parents brought him to the ambulance barn on State Road, after which he was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for treatment.
The amount the toddler consumed, two pellets, was not enough to do serious harm and he was later released from the hospital, police said.
Reflecting on his first summer on the job, Tisbury Police Chief said he was most impressed by the professionalism and dedication of his fellow officers and support staff.
“I heard all winter about how hectic the summer would be,” said Chief Cashin, who took over last September after serving as a captain in Norwalk, Conn. “But I think everything went very smoothly — and that’s a tribute to the talented men and women of this force.”
Chief Cashin’s first summer on the job was complicated by the reconstruction of the Water street parking lot in front of Stop & Shop, as well as changes to the ticketing policy at the Steamship Authority terminal. Many people predicted massive traffic problems in and around the busy parking lot and terminal; but all in all the situation was very manageable, the chief said.
“Of course, I have no point of reference because this is my first summer. But everyone tells me this could have been much worse. And again, that’s because of the officers — if they hear an ambulance needs to get through the parking lot or through Main Street, they will literally run out there and clear traffic,” he said.
Looking forward, Chief Cashin said he has worked with officials at the Tisbury School to come up with a safer drop-off area for students.
In the past, parents have dropped their children off at the far end of the road and they have had to cut across traffic. Police have now placed cones along the driveway directing motorists to a safer and more established drop-off directly in front of the school entrance.
Chief Cashin said he initiated the plan after hearing numerous complaints from parents and crossing guards about the drop-off area. Officers will also issue citations for motorists speeding through the driveway or who illegally pass other vehicles.