‘We’re getting there’: New Block Island police chief outlines summer security improvements

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WLNE) — Just four months as Block Island’s Chief of Police, John Lynch says the island’s safety has noticeably improved since last summer.

Coming from Wilton, CT, Lynch is inheriting a department that struggled with a chaotic 2022 summer without a permanent chief.

“You just never know what you are going to get,” Lynch told ABC 6 Wednesday on Block Island. “

Block Island is dealing with its busiest time of the year amidst Fourth of July celebrations.

An alleged drinking culture, brawls, and unruly behavior marked a frustrating 2022 summer for residents and Block Island police.

“I think it was a breaking point,” said Lynch who began as chief in March. “It was a necessary transition to get us to where were heading. I don’t think were there yet, but it’s been a more respectful place. It’s not a wild party. I think some of that was blown out of proportion.”

Lynch and his team have made law enforcement and signs more visible.

He added, “One of the main concerns was open containers and civility — You’ll notice there are a lot of signs up. This year they enacted an ordinance for the public marijuana smoking. We increased our parking fines from $20 to $50.”

Many popular bars and restaurants like Ballard’s have increased there security and identification procedures, according to Lynch.  

With the majority of summer ahead, Lynch says they are still dealing with the same problems as last year — but not to the same extent.

The department added four officers to the force this summer, and still get help from Rhode Island State Police.

He finished, “Everybody wants to have a safe, successful year and people come for that. We are not quite there, but we are getting there.”

Categories: News, Rhode Island