No Profanity Signs Discussed For Ocean City; Enforcement Concerns Raised

Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront currently utilizes “no profanity signs,” like the one pictured above. Submitted Photo
Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront currently utilizes “no profanity signs,” like the one pictured above. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY – City officials are currently exploring options, including looking to a neighboring resort for research, about new signage suggesting no profanity on the Boardwalk.

The idea of posting “no profanity signs” on the Boardwalk was brought before the Police Commission this week. Commission members thought it was a creative concept, but the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) would have no right in lawfully enforcing the signage, it was pointed out.

The signage was brought forward by a constituent of Council Secretary Mary Knight, who in turn passed the concept forward to the Police Commission.

The signs have been spotted on Virginia Beach’s Boardwalk and nearby locations, and Knight has been in contact with the Virginia Beach City Manager’s Office to gather feedback.

“I talked with the city manager’s office in Virginia Beach and they could not quantify the success of the program, although they have received many positive comments,” Knight submitted.

According to Cymek, it has been suggested to install a few similar signs on the south end of Ocean City’s boardwalk.

“It is clear it is not something you can make an arrest on. They are still entitled to their First Amendment rights,” Cymek said.

Councilman Dennis Dare was concerned over the perception the signs may give.

“I learned a long time ago you don’t want to make laws that you can’t enforce,” Dare said.

Cymek added another suggestion was adding the word “please”, to help differentiate between the sign asking for no profanity versus implementing a law.

“We would have to continue our operations as if those signs didn’t exist … so for us, yes, it is a possible plus, and considered a tool or helpful hint so to speak … but there is nothing there for us to use from a law enforcement standpoint,” OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro said.

City Solicitor Guy Ayres agreed there is a big difference between putting up a sign as a courtesy versus making it a crime.

Buzzuro concluded with OCPD contacting Virginia Beach to receive additional information in how the neighboring resort went forward with installing the signage and how the signs have been proven productive.