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Laguna Beach : Police Say Extra Patrols Cut Homosexual Activity

Round-the-clock police patrols at an ocean bluff park in Laguna Beach have had “a great deterrent effect” on the sexual activities of homosexual men, Police Chief Neil Purcell said Friday.

The patrols, one uniformed officer in daylight hours and two during some night hours, plus a marked police car parked in the neighborhood of Heisler Park at all times, have been operating for one week, said Purcell, who is also the city’s director of public safety.

No arrests have been made on lewd conduct charges, he said, “because the word is out and our officers are highly visible.”

Purcell said the patrols were assigned in response to numerous complaints from residents near the park, which is just up the coast from Main Beach, as well as from the North Laguna Homeowners’ Assn. Sexual acts among men could be observed at all hours, it had been reported.

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Under the new police effort, Purcell said, persons who are seen loitering frequently around the park are questioned, and field interview cards are made out and filed. An individual who is contacted several times in this manner could face loitering charges, he explained.

The 24-hour patrol will be shortened to 12 hours beginning June 6 because of financial and manpower concerns, Purcell said.

He also said that the foot patrol of several bars that are heavily used by local and visiting homosexuals during the summer months will be resumed at the end of June and will continue through September.

These patrols are made up of uniformed officers accompanied by a member of the local gay community to ease tensions that might develop, Purcell said.


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