Wildwood Cops to Parents: Stop Telling Kids We’ll Arrest Them

The Wildwood Police Department has put up signs along the boardwalk this summer telling parents to stop using them as a scare tactic.

Wildwood Police Dept. - PSA

Wildwood patrolman Andrew Kolimaga stands in front of himself on the boardwalk at Glenwood Avenue. (Photo via Wildwood Police Department)

The Wildwood Police Department has a message for parents this summer: Don’t tell your kids the cops will send you to jail.

The WPD has put up several signs along the boardwalk that send this message to parents: “Please stop telling your children that we will haul them off to jail if they are bad. We want them to run TO us if they are scared… NOT be scared of US!” The signs are up on several shelters donated by In Plaza Advertising, which also did the artwork.

“Over the course of a season, we hear hundreds of parents tell their children, ‘Don’t do anything bad or he (the officer) is going to arrest you,’” Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said in a release. “We don’t want children to be fearful of police officers. We want them to know that police officers are their friends and are there to help them.”

Between 25 and 30 police officers patrol the Wildwood section of the boardwalk. During the summer, many seasonal Class II officers walk the boards and handle disturbances, issue directions and reunite lost kids with their parents.

“We are trying to make the environment safer for residents, visitors and children,” Regalbuto said. “It’s a very large area with bells, whistles and lights that attract children, so they’re not paying attention. If we can give kids, mom and dad a little bit more information, it’s a good thing.”

The police also enforce a baggy pants dress code on the Wildwood boards, but they won’t throw you in jail for that: Violators are subject to fines, community service and may be ejected from the boardwalk.