San Diego Lifeguards at Full Staff to Prepare for Crowded Labor Day Weekend

Police hope to prevent any drunken melees by cracking down on alcohol enforcement at the beaches

Amid record-breaking heat, San Diego lifeguards are fully staffed and ready to face huge crowds at the sweltering beaches this Labor Day weekend.

First responders hope to focus on heat and swimming-related rescues rather than alcohol-related debauchery, like the drunken fight that broke out in Pacific Beach 10 years ago.

In the past, alcohol caused a number of issues at San Diego's beaches. Holiday festivities left the entire beach buried in trash, which volunteers worked hard to clean up.

"Just with no alcohol, there's been a huge change over the past 10 years. There used to be this giant bar out here on the sand," said SDFD Lt. Rick Romero. "And we'd get all kinds of alcohol-related issues."

The issues with beach booze hit a breaking point on Labor Day in 2007.

Police in riot gear lined the boardwalk in Pacific Beach. About 70 officers arrested more than 12 people after a drunken melee spiraled out of control.

In November 2008, San Diego voters passed a temporary booze ban following the massive beach brawl. The following November they passed a permanent ban on alcohol consumption at local beaches.

Neighbors said this has helped keep the beaches cleaner and safer, as well as the overall community.

First responders agreed that taking alcohol out of the equation has been a huge help on holiday weekends.

"Now people are coming out and enjoying the beach," said Romero.

Police will patrol San Diego's beaches to ensure nobody violates the rules.

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