I'm writing because I am very upset and saddened at the way my boyfriend — who by the way is a marine veteran — and I were treated while enjoying a beautiful day at beach.
We have a 4x4 and have a Suffolk County beach 4x4 permit already. Now keeping in mind this is like the sixth time we have been at the beach in the same spot and never saw any police till this day, and when we go we park and sit harmlessly and enjoy watching the surfers. We drove down the dunes and took the sign side that said "Cut 2."
Not a lot of people were there, it was not very crowded — maybe four other trucks there — so we parked on the beach and were enjoying the day and each other, when around 1 p.m. a Southampton police officer whose name I did not get but drove car number 173 pulled up to us. Now I understand that as public servants, the police have a right to serve and protect the public, but at the same time, not to overstate their position and speak to citizens in a disrespectful and offensive manner. Particularly when that citizen himself served and protected our country!
There is a level of Human-to-Human respect that should be displayed by a person in authority and not every situation requires an officer, a public servant, to speak to a person as if they were unworthy of any dignity and respect, who thanks to my boyfriend and others like him will never have to see young lives be placed in body bags to be brought home to waiting parents, wives, children, etc., after protecting the very air he breathes.
We were not loud, causing riots, fires, anything of that nature that would require us to be told to move. The officer in a rude manner told us that we needed a Southampton Village permit to be there.
We, apparently, unknown to us, were not on the right side of the beach. We told the officer nicely that we were sorry and did not know, as we saw no signs telling us this. He told us that it's on the post near the campers. (How can I see a sign that's in a spot where we did not drive? We drove the dunes where there is only a "Cut 2" sign, not a fence, not a big noticeable sign, nothing.)
The officer was speaking to us as if we were on a lower level then himself, like we were breaking a major crime. He told us after we nicely explained to him we did not know, "Yeah, well let's pack it up," and waited and watched us like we were children.
My boyfriend and I were shocked, embarrassed and felt like second-class citizens.
Suffolk County Parks Department has more respect for its veterans by giving them a special rate on a Green Key and beach permit — their way of saying thank you. It shocks me to think that Southampton turns a blind eye to it, catering to only their residents. But by the same token, Southampton residents can access Suffolk County beaches any time with paying only a parking fee of maybe $10. It shocks me to see that Southampton is still stuck in the late 1950s early 1960s, when things were segregated, and allows itself to horde a beach that was made by nature not man, for its residents only.
Is this how all Southampton residents are? Do they all act this way? With the attitude of, "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine"?
It's just very sad to me.
Thank You for your attention in this matter.