Rehoboth using drones, cameras, patrols to enforce emergency order


The Rehoboth Beach Police Department is monitoring, but not arresting out of state visitors. The effort includes drones with public address systems.

The department began the initiative on April 3rd

The main goal of the initiative is to take action to enforce and inform visitors of the 14-day self-quarantine mandate for out of staters, including second home residents.

Rehoboth Beach Police officers in patrol vehicles have been following out-of-state motorists as they entered city limits. The officers followed the vehicles to determine if their destination was within city limits and if so the officers, following social distancing protocols, contacted the vehicle occupants to determine compliance with the 14-day mandate.

In addition to this initiative, Rehoboth Beach Police have monitored the beach and boardwalk, both of which are now closed to all activities under a municipal order.

The beach and boardwalk were closed after visitors flocked to the areas during a warm early spring day. A few businesses also opened on the boardwalk.

Social media photos and video recorded the crowds, drawing regional and national attention at a time when the COVID-19 outlook had worsened.

Gov. John Carney later issued an executive order restricting beach access and Rehoboth took things a step further, completely closing the beach and boardwalk.

In addition to frequent patrols, Rehoboth Beach Police have installed electronic signboards at all entrances to the city and implemented the use of drones equipped with PA systems to play a programmed message. Cameras are also used in monitoring efforts.

Of the 102 monitoring actions, 59 were out-of-state motorists and 43 were individuals attempting to use the beach and/or boardwalk. Of the 59 motorists, 37 had final destinations within Rehoboth Beach city limits and 37 were contacted. Eleven of the 37 motorists contacted were found to be in violation of the 14-day self-quarantine.

No arrests have been made. However, the option is available should coronavirus spread further and blatant non-compliance cases surface, the department noted.

“Means have been established to track the contacts being made for future reference to further justify enforcement action. While we want to be fair and just, we equally remain dedicated to protecting our community,” a Rehoboth police release stated.

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