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Wildwood police end state of emergency for boardwalk after "numerous incidents of civil unrest"

"Civil unrest" led to Wildwood, New Jersey, state of emergency, police say. What we know so far
"Civil unrest" led to Wildwood, New Jersey, state of emergency, police say. What we know so far 02:26

WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) -- Wildwood police ended a state of emergency declaration early Monday that temporarily restricted access to the Wildwood Boardwalk after "numerous incidents of civil unrest." 

The state of emergency was lifted at 6 a.m., several hours after it was issued. 

"The City of Wildwood was able to effectively address numerous incidents of civil unrest and ensure the safety and welfare of our residents and visitors," the Wildwood Police Department said in a statement. "These measures were necessary to ensure public safety and maintain law and order within our jurisdiction. As of this time the state of emergency has been rescinded and we thank everyone for their cooperation."

In a joint statement, the City of Wildwood and Wildwood Police Department said they received a surge of phone calls Saturday night, most of which were related to an "extremely large number of young adults and juveniles" in town for the holiday weekend. 

Wildwood officials said they requested backup from other law enforcement agencies in Cape May County to help with the large volume of calls. 

Due to the influx of calls, police said they couldn't respond to other calls for service for a portion of Saturday night.  

Officials in Wildwood said the situation deteriorated again after midnight Monday, which prompted them to declare the state of emergency and shut down the boardwalk. 

"Wildwood will not tolerate unruly, undisciplined, unparented children nor will we stand by while the laws of the state tie the hands of the police," Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said in a statement. 

CBS News Philadelphia asked multiple times but the city has not made any leaders available for interviews on Monday.

Police initially alerted the public about the state of emergency with posts on Facebook and X around midnight, warning people to stay away from the boardwalk and explaining that the measure was necessary to protect the "public health, safety and welfare" of residents and visitors.

One boardwalk business owner said he closed his business before midnight and was surprised the state of emergency went out since it was calm at that time. 

Julius Brown and Dana Smith visited Wildwood for the weekend and said they were disappointed to hear about the declaration. 

"That's sad because as families, you have a lot of children. We're just here to have a good time, celebrate Memorial weekend, those that have risked their lives for our freedoms. It's sad to see it get to that type of confusion," Smith said. 

Brown and Smith said they broke up a confrontation between a teenage boy and a group of girls over the weekend.

"My Marine Corps intuition just kicked in, and I had to defuse the situation," Brown said. 

The situation ended peacefully, Smith said.

This comes after an unrelated incident on the boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J. where a 15-year-old boy was stabbed Saturday night

In a statement Cape May County Commissioner Director Len Desiderio said he will be meeting with the county prosecutor and sheriff to talk about how county resources can help local law enforcement deal with "unrest" on boardwalks. 

"Back in 2021, I convened a meeting with all our municipalities and our legislators to try to find a workable solution to the problem. These issues arose after new laws out of Trenton took the handcuffs off of disorderly persons and effectively put them on the very police officers who we trust to keep peace and good order," he said in the statement. "Trenton has everything backwards. So far, despite the efforts of our local legislators, our pleas for help have mostly fallen on deaf ears in Trenton."

Wildwood Police say "civil unrest" prompted state of emergency order overnight 02:16

Desiderio added that he will be reaching out to mayors and legislators again as well. 

The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office addressed both the Wildwood and Ocean City incidents in a news release Monday night. 

"For those who come to our communities to create unrest, be forewarned that your bad decisions and bad actions will not be tolerated and law enforcement will use all legal measures to arrest and charge all violators," Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland wrote in part. 

Nearby North Wildwood and several other shore towns have instituted curfews for unsupervised teens for the summer season. 

Boardwalk chaos: Ocean City and Wildwood, New Jersey, officials say large crowds disrupted weekend 02:00
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