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Monday, July 15, 2024

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20 Questions About Unsanctioned Car Rally

By Sam Wilson, Wildwood Crest

To the Editor: 
I write to you as a year-round resident property owner in Wildwood Crest concerning the recent “unsanctioned event” on the Island and in its several boroughs and jurisdictions. Because I want to understand how this near four-day event occurred and the public safety response, I have several straightforward questions to ask.
Was prior knowledge of the car rally “pop-up” event available to public officials? If so, what was the nature, and how complete was this information?
Was prior warning kept in police channels only and not shared with other public officials who would be the likely sources the people would turn to for information?
In light of the multiple planned events on the Island, i.e., Irish Weekend In North Wildwood, Antique Car Show in Wildwood proper, and the Seafarer’s Festival in Wildwood Crest were senior public safety officials present and available as a matter of prudent planning and contingency for such a busy weekend?
1If not, especially in light of any prior warning of an unsanctioned event, why? Was a public safety contingency plan in place for the multiple weekend events, including the unsanctioned event?
Was this plan coordinated across jurisdictions to ensure continuity and cohesion?
Did this plan call for additional resources to be available in the case of multiple public disturbances requiring additional law enforcement support?
Did such planning and contingency for additional resources include coordination with Cape May County and the state of New Jersey?
Did such planning identify thresholds of public disturbances so that additional measures and resources could go into effect quickly and efficiently?
Were fire and emergency responders’ roles and responsibilities identified in this plan?
If so, was their participation coordinated?
What plans were made for primary, secondary, and emergency communications—to include local government websites—in the event of high levels or multiple incidents so that public access to information about what was happening around them was available?
What information was provided to the public as events unfolded around them?
If none or little, why?
What statistics and cost figures are available to inform the public about deaths, injuries—including police—and private and public property damage?
How many arrests, citations, and other law enforcement actions occurred across jurisdictions?
Were any weapons (excluding police) or gunshots involved during the event?
Will journalists or media assemble and publish an actual “chronicle” of the event to capture it as history and for future public planning?
Will the various municipalities and jurisdictions affected by the pop-up event assemble a joint planning task force to update or create a workable contingency public safety response for the future?
I readily admit that this is not an exhaustive list of questions. I suspect other citizens might have more. Nonetheless, these questions honestly come to my mind about the domestic terror that visited our Island for nearly 96 hours when public order was at least partially lost.

– Sam Wilson, WILDWOOD CREST

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